Exit interviews – why are your employees leaving you?

Have you ever stopped to think how much staff turnover you have had in the last two years or even in the last year? If the answer is ‘Yes, we have lost a few people’, do you actually know why, and whether it was avoidable?

Losing a staff member doesn’t just end with them walking out the door and a farewell cake or drinks – what else are they taking with them – knowledge about your business, customers that they have built rapport with, and knowledge of systems and processes. Think about a time when you had been an employee and resigned from a role – what knowledge did you bring to the next role or to your own business? Although it is generally unintentional to use this information in a harmful way against your business, you can’t undo the training that the now ex-employee has gained on how your business operates. If moving on to a competitor, it is this knowledge and training that has made them valuable – that’s why they employed them – right?

At the end of the day, staff will inevitably leave you at some time. However, getting a better insight into why staff leave will help in minimising this and could possibly lead to having skilled people knocking on your door to join you as an employer of choice! Who wouldn’t love that?

Working with some great local clients and through our own research, has shown us some effective tips and processes that would actually capture this information – some organisations are really doing a great job of this, others just aren’t doing it at all. We have all heard of exit interviews or exit surveys but do you do them, or more importantly, do you conduct them 100% of the time?  An effective exit interview will show you a number of things about your business, your staff, internal communications, the role that they performed in, and the perception of the business among other things. Generally an employee leaves “for a new opportunity” but did that just disguise the fact that they really weren’t happy with a number of things and wanted to leave on good terms?

Wouldn’t you love to know the following?

  • Were they happy with their direct supervisor? (4 staff leaving in 9 months may tell you a different story)
  • Did they feel that they received sufficient training in their role(s)
  • What did they enjoy?
  • What didn’t they enjoy?
  • Have they heard good or poor feedback about the company?
  • Do they believe in your product or service?
  • Did they feel adequately paid in their role? (this is actually not the main decider for a person to leave – there is always something else that tips them)
  • Were there any internal conflicts (a covert workplace bully can often be identified over a short time – we have seen it happen!)
  • If anything had changed, would that have kept them on board?

There are so many questions that could be asked and answered however, you want to keep it relevant to your workplace. Always keep the aim of the interview firmly in your mind when designing the survey and include open ended questions to get appropriate feedback to action. If you would like to know more about exit interviews and the questions that can help your business retain valuable staff, please call David on 0414862979 to discuss this further.

Wouldn’t it be great to know why an employee has left you? It could make a huge difference to the way you manage your business… and in this economy… every little bit helps!

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