The Importance of Exit Surveys in Improving Employee Experience


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Employee turnover is a part of an organization’s lifecycle. However, you should know why your employee handed you their notice. 

Assuming the reason will only pause the company’s success as it may lead to losing high-performing employees. Exit surveys or interviews play a big role in informing you of the reason for this turnover. 

By conducting exit surveys, you gain a deeper understanding of employee satisfaction, company culture, and management practices so that you can improve retention rates. 

In this article, we will explore why they are essential for organizations to stay ahead of the curve and share some tips

What is an exit survey?

An exit interview or survey conducted with a departing employee is the most effective technique to learn about their experience at your organization. 

The aim of an exit survey is to identify the point of friction within your organization that may be driving employees to find other employment. It’s an opportunity to learn from previous employees’ positive and negative experiences. It can be done in person via an online survey.

Exit interviews play a key role in understanding and improving workplace culture and influencing a positive environment. When you gather employee feedback, you can effectively and efficiently address the pain points and nurture engagement. 

Exit Interview Survey Template

Download the sample template to see how you can create interactive surveys using Voxco.

Examples of exit survey questions

Here are five examples of exit survey questions: 

Q1. How long have you been in this position?

Long-term employee turnover, which has accumulated knowledge and abilities, has a higher impact than losing a relatively new worker. There might be distinct patterns or difficulties causing important present employees to resign.

Q2. What were the highlights & lowlights of your job?

Each employee appreciates various aspects of the job, and understanding this person’s perspective can help you understand if their reason for leaving has something to do with their job. 

Q3. How fair did you think your entire compensation package (salary + benefits + any equity) was?

This question will help determine whether you are competitive in the larger employer market. It’s possible that the employee enjoys working with you but has gotten an offer that is too excellent to pass up.

Q4. Was there a particular incident or person that influenced your choice to leave?

According to a Gallup employee engagement poll, 50 percent of Americans have left a job to “get away from their management at some point in their career.” If staff is quitting for a specific reason, this must be addressed immediately.

Q5. How would you characterize the company’s culture?

Your perspective on the corporate culture as a senior executive may differ from that of the employees. Check to see if the company’s cultural values are evident or if more needs to be done to define them.

When creating exit surveys, leverage online survey tools that allow you to create surveys with 100+ question types, design mobile-friendly surveys, customize themes and flows, and translate them into 100+ languages. 

Download our exit interview survey template to see how you can create an engaging survey using Voxco. 

Additional read: 15 employee experience survey questions for 2023

Why should you conduct exit surveys?

An efficient exit survey/ interview provides useful information that helps you understand employee perspectives. Let’s look at why you should consider conducting surveys with departing employees if you are not already. 

  1. It helps to end the employee/employer relationship productively and positively.
  2. You can gather first-hand employee experience insights on their surroundings, team, management, position, and corporate culture are provided.
  3. Departing employees are more honest about their experience than those still working with you. 
  4. You gain an understanding of why they decided to leave. 
  5. You can identify any faults or areas of the business that require attention.
  6. It allows you to learn about any open issues of which you are not aware. 
  7. Employee exit surveys help you receive an unbiased and sincere assessment of your company’s work culture. 

The objective is not to keep the employee from leaving. But to gather insights that will help retain people, enhance management processes, improve employee satisfaction, and ultimately drive improved organizational performance.

Now that we have discussed the seven reasons you should conduct exit interviews let’s move on to their importance in improving employee experience. 

Read how Voxco empowers the HR team to evaluate the 2,000-person monthly hiring process.

Importance of conducting exit surveys

Departing employees can offer you meaningful insights on how to enhance the employee experience for current and prospective employees.

Only roughly one-third of employees who leave a company complete an exit interview. However, exit surveys for employees can help you identify the employee turnover risk among the current employees. 

It also gives you an opportunity to conclude the last touchpoint on a good note with the employee. 

Let’s take a look at various reasons why it’s important to conduct employee exit interviews. 

1. Uncover employee concerns: 

Employees may not be honest if you ask what they feel about the company when they are still employed. However, it changes when they are at the end of their term. 

Exit interviews can help you uncover any conflict or pain points they may have with the management, team, or company. 

2. Gain meaningful insights: 

As mentioned above, departing employees are more forthright about their experience. You can turn this into an opportunity and gather unbiased insights from them. 

Leverage exit surveys to gather open-ended responses from employees about the organization, managers, HR, management process, benefits, etc. Gain a thorough perspective of employee experience across various interactions to understand what needs to improve or change. 

3. Create a positive work culture: 

Exit interviews can demonstrate your commitment to continuously improving the work environment and fostering a culture of trust and respect. 

Furthermore, you can encourage open and honest communication between existing employees and management. Treating departing employees respectfully paints the company a positive image to the existing employee. 

Leverage an employee experience platform to gather and analyze textual survey responses and identify patterns.

What makes an exit survey effective?

In contrast to a standard engagement survey, which evaluates the organization based on the opinions of existing employees, an exit survey delivers more honest insights as they come from employees who no longer work with you. 

Employee exit surveys can introduce various reasons you may not have thought of. Some may have issues with the management, some may feel underpaid, while others may just want to upskill. Whatever the reasons may be, an exit interview/survey can help you identify opportunities to improve the workplace environment. 

Review individual employees’ feedback 

You should ask the employee leaving the company voluntarily to participate in an exit interview or survey. The offboarding meeting can help you learn about the experience and pain points of the employee. 

An individual employee’s experience can differ from the rest. If most of your employees answer positively about work-life balance, but the departing employee notes that as their reason for leaving, you should enquire more about it. 

The purpose of reviewing individual employees’ feedback is to see the differences in the experience and understand each employee. 

Review exit survey results of all employees 

Analyzing aggregate results of exit surveys can help you identify patterns in employee experience and pain points. You can compare recurring themes and uncover what’s causing your employees to leave. 

This way, you can understand if certain issues were one-off incidents or recurring. You can take strategic actions against these pain points and resolve them before it impacts existing employees.

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7 Tips for conducting successful exit surveys

Here are seven tips on how you can successfully conduct exit surveys. 

1. Make it voluntary:

Not all your employees will participate in an exit survey/interview. And you should also not force any departing employees. It not only defeats the purpose, but the employee may not offer honest or helpful feedback. 

2. Allow in-person interviews & online feedback surveys:

Your departing employees may not feel comfortable in an in-person interview. At the same time, some may find online surveys a nuisance. 

It’s best to let your employees choose the process they are most comfortable with. This way, you can honor the employee’s wishes and gather insights from them. 

3. Tell the employee why you’re conducting a exit interview: 

An employee should understand why you are doing the departure interview. The clarity will help them respond correctly and understand that their responses can make a difference.

4. Do not inquire about particular persons: 

You don’t want to come out as interrogating someone for a specific motive. Inquiring specifically about someone may give the employee the false impression that you seek to create a case against them. The only exception is if you ask a broad inquiry on management.

5. Don’t bring up office gossip: 

Do not engage if an employee decides to talk about office rumors. You should consider informing the employee that they are free to express their thoughts but that you cannot and do not have an opinion on the subject.

6. Pay attention to what the employee says: 

This is the employee’s time to speak, so listen carefully. While this isn’t an issue in an online survey, for in-person interviews, the interviewer should simply listen to the employee. 

Often interviewers try to justify why something happened. This causes employees to shut up and feel like they are not being listened to. 

7. Don’t make the employee uncomfortable: 

Assign an HR representative to conduct the interview instead of the employee’s manager or mentor. This way, the employee will be more comfortable responding honestly. 

Secondly, assure the employee that their feedback will remain confidential. This will encourage them to discuss their experience and concerns openly. 

Additional read: Tips to avoid employee survey fatigue.

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An employee may quit a company for various reasons, including finding a better-fitting job or encountering a hostile work environment. Many organizations want to know why an employee chooses to work elsewhere, and an exit interview may help them find out. 

An exit interview can be beneficial to an employee since it allows them to talk candidly about their experience.

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