Every company should be utilizing Exit Interviews. That’s a bold statement, we know! However, Exit Interviews identify the real reasons people leave an organization. They are beneficial to help learn the reason for an employee’s departure, which is often different than what is assumed.
Companies invest a lot of time and money into their employees. That is why it’s important to ask questions as to why employees leave. Some of our clients have previously assumed their employees were leaving due to circumstances out of their control. However, once they reached out to us and started our Exit Interview program, those same clients found out they were wrong in their assumptions on why employees were leaving. Here’s an example.
Many organizations assume employees are leaving due to compensation. We often hear “Oh, they just want more money!” But, is that really the case? One of our clients made this assumption. Since reaching out to us, we have completed 34 interviews for them, and not one person has mentioned compensation as a reason for leaving. Additionally, when asked specifically about how much of a factor compensation played in their decision to leave, 76% said “Not a factor” and another 11% said it as a minor factor. Instead, we found out several reasons why employees are leaving the company that our client was unaware of. In this case, being proven wrong was a great thing because we found the real reasons employees are leaving and some of the items are easier and less costly to address than compensation.
To get to the bottom of any assumption, it’s important to ask the right questions, which is why we spend time coaching our clients on what the right and relevant questions are. As part of our commitment to our clients, we continually review their Exit Interview results to identify opportunities to update or change a question, or sometimes ask a totally different question when an issue becomes obsolete. It is not just enough to do Exit Interviews; you must ask the right questions.
We also encourage our clients to think about the results of their Exit Interviews. At one time we used to ask interviewees to rate their compensation on a four-point scale, but because people often leave for higher paying jobs, they would not rate compensation particularly highly. We currently ask how much compensation factored into their decision to leave, and we receive a much better quality of data.
We had a client who believed commutes were being viewed as unreasonable and impacting decisions to leave the company. We customize all our interviews, so we added a question about commute. In 2018, we have interviewed 123 employees from that company, and less than 2% of the respondents thought their commute was unreasonable.
Whether partnering with a third party, or doing exit interviews in-house, there is no benefit for an employer to assume anything. Every company should take the time to get the real scoop. By challenging assumptions, an employer will find out why their employees are really leaving.