When an employee leaves your company, it’s natural to want to know why. Did they receive an offer too good to refuse from a competitor? Are they moving across the country? Or are they dissatisfied your organization’s benefits? With the help of an exit interview, you can find out.
But asking the right exit interview questions is critical to turning employee resignations into actionable plans to retain your best workers and bring your business to the next level. It’s not a task to take lightly.
As the Harvard Business Review notes, “Research has shown that high turnover predicts low performance and that an organization with turnover lower than its competitors’ can be at a considerable advantage — particularly if it retains its top performers. If people are leaving an organization in ever-increasing numbers, figuring out why is crucial.”
Improving Your Organization Holistically
As a key part of the offboarding process, exit interviews invite employees to give invaluable feedback on your business. Since they’re leaving, they’re more likely to offer candid opinions and advice than they otherwise might be. That said, giving departing employees a true voice by setting up a formal exit-interview feedback process with carefully considered questions will encourage them to deliver constructive feedback rather than resentful criticism.
Start by asking exit interview questions that allow you to diagnose the company and the employee experience as a whole. For example, try asking:
- Why are you choosing to leave?
- What feedback do you have about the organization’s benefits offerings?
- What support, training and feedback did (or didn’t) you receive related to your job tasks and duties? What would have allowed you to do your job better?
- Would you return to this company in the future or recommend us as an employer of choice?
As you conduct exit interviews, avoid taking feedback personally by focusing on the opportunity to better the organization going forward.
Improving Your Benefits Package
Whether benefits comes up directly or not, it’s smart to use exit interviews to understand how the total compensation package — from salary to benefits — meets or doesn’t meet employee expectations and needs.
First ask departing employees what general feedback they have about the benefits they received. This simple inquiry may elicit useful suggestions. If not, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper with some additional open-ended questions, including:
- What did you like most or find most appealing about the benefits package?
- What else should be included in the benefits package?
Enhancing the Employment Experience
First, be sure that your exit-interview process is consistent. Without consistency, it’s difficult to observe patterns and trends. And to know where to allocate your resources, it’s important to be able to pinpoint which improvements a majority of departing employees cite and which are one-off outliers.
Second, follow through. While most companies that conduct exit interviews compile the data, fewer than one-third regularly share it with senior decision-makers, according to the Harvard Business Review. In these cases, the value of the information collected is lost.
Don’t gather feedback just to check a box. Instead, use it as part of your planning process. Capture feedback about health benefits and refer to it when you’re updating your benefits plan for the next year.
With a plan in place for how to conduct an exit interview and what questions to ask, your organization will be better prepared to recruit and retain talent.
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