What to Ask In Your Employee Exit Surveys

When an employee leaves a company, you may have multiple thoughts surrounding it. Some of the questions you may encounter may be like, what made them leave the company? What could have been done to make them stay? It is crucial to know why the employee has taken such a decision.

Learning about the reasons for such a decision is extremely important. An employee who is leaving the company tends to be honest in his reasons, which helps to uncover the underlying problems that the company might not have spotted. There may be other questions that might need to be addressed as well. Employee exit surveys play a crucial role here.

These surveys enable us to delve deeper into analysing the situation which compelled the employee to leave the organisation. They help acknowledge the critical areas for making essential changes in the company’s way of functioning. This may help reduce turnovers in the future and retain talented employees in the company.

Employee exit surveys are handed over to employees to collect essential insights about the company’s functioning.

What is the need for the employee exit survey in an organisation

Employee exit surveys are questionnaires set beforehand and used in the employee outgoing process. These employee exit surveys are either in the form of verbal or survey questions. Every company needs to modify its policies to reduce employee turnover.

Employee exit surveys help assess the company’s drawbacks and make the required changes. The questions in these surveys can be different for different companies or organisations, depending on their functionality. They are often a mixture of both open-ended and closed-ended questions. We suggest you conduct this survey online as it enables you to run insights and gather more information.

The employees can answer these questions even after they have left the organisation. It invites the leaving employees to express their opinions and share their experiences about the time spent in the organisation. This feedback is extremely helpful to the organisation for collecting insights.

Importance of employee exit survey

Hiring is an expensive and tedious process. When an employee leaves the company, it is a waste of time, effort, and money invested in hiring the candidate. Apart from this it also affects the company’s reputation. By allowing the exiting employees to provide genuine feedback for the company, you can gain valuable insights to improve the employee experience for the current and future employees.

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The employee exit surveys give you the ability to respond quickly to the collected data to address the problems that might be existing in the organisation. It makes the employee management process easy. The questions in the survey should be different for different employees based on their tenure in the organisation.

Keeping track of these surveys may also help you assess and track the improvements made. It ensures that the proper management works on the right engagement action and delivers results.

Maintaining an online track of the employee exit surveys makes it easier to know the topics of concern. Employee exit surveys help dive into every aspect that drives an employee’s exit and deliverable actionable insights to boost future employee experiences.

It also helps in understanding the effectiveness of the training and development programs of the organisation. Surveys facilitate taking immediate action and strategy to fill the gaps in the organisation.

According to studies, only one-third of exiting employees complete the employee exit surveys. However, knowing the importance of exit information for employers, every departing employee should be encouraged to respond to the exiting interviews.

The employee exit surveys reduce employee turnover, retain talent, prevent bad hires, improve management practices, and enhance organisational performance.

Are employee exit surveys and exit interviews the same?

Employee exit surveys are a set of questionnaires prepared to be answered by the employee leaving an organisation. This type of survey is conducted either online or in a pen-paper mode. However, it is always in the written format.

An employee exit interview is also a set of questionnaires prepared for exiting employees. Unlike an exit survey, an exit interview can be conducted verbally, virtually, over the phone, or via Skype.

The purpose of employee exit surveys and employee exit interviews is to know the reason behind the employee’s resignation and learn the pros and cons of the company. It helps in making the required changes in the company.

Tips to conduct an employee exit survey

To get the best value results, provide the survey questions in the final conversation with the employee. All employee exit surveys should be fair, preferably open-ended, and written online. After running the analytics on the collected data, changes are made in the company accordingly. Employee exit surveys are essential to:

Invite honest feedback

Employees avoid indulging in organisational politics by providing negative feedback. It is therefore essential to give questions that would invite honest feedback.

Give questions that can be easily quantified

Consistently formatted data stored in the form of online forms can help run the analytics to understand the areas of improvement for the company.

Provide short and simple questions

Asking more straightforward questions in the same area makes it easier for the employees to answer them.

Automate the process

It is essential to automate the entire process to reduce the workload.

Conduct exit interview on the employee’s last day

It is more likely that the employee will give an honest opinion when he knows he does not have to walk past that door again.

Assure the employee that the survey is confidential

Employees should know that their feedback is confidential and under any circumstance will not be shared directly with anyone in the organisation.

Advantages of having employee exit surveys

Employee exit surveys should be practical, simple, crisp, and easy to interpret. A strategic employee exit survey gives you insight into employees taken on by the company. Employee exit surveys are a source of building a constructive relationship between the employee and the employer.

These surveys shed light on the underlying problems in the organisation and explore further the ways to resolve them. Some of the key advantages of the employee exit surveys are:

Gives information on the possible changes

The honest feedback from the employees highlights the issues the organisation might not be aware of. This data helps in containing future exits.

Provides opportunities to discuss commitments

Employee exit surveys provide an opportunity to discuss the clauses and riders in the employee contracts during employee exit. Knowing about the clauses reduces liability.

Builds employee and supervisor relationship

The information given out by the employees helps bridge the gap between the employee and the employment relationship. It can further reduce employee turnover from specific teams. A healthy relationship between the team members automatically improves the work quality.

Allows collecting references

When an employee leaves an organisation, the exit surveys give them a chance to refer their friends or family to the organisation. Employee exit surveys help in getting references for future relevant job roles.

What should you ask in employee exit surveys

To know about the employees’ experience and refrain them from exiting the company, add questions in the survey related to employees’ stay in the organisation. Questions that you can ask in your survey are :

Their role in the organisation

It is essential to understand the role of employees in an organisation and how long they have worked in the job role. You should know the reason for the high turnover among long term employees as it is a greater loss for the company to lose highly skilled workers.

Employee exit surveys must also discuss how accurately the job role was described to them when they joined the company and how much it has changed since then. It helps in yielding data about the job description. It should also incorporate questions like the job’s best and worst aspects to get employee’s perspectives. The last question related to this aspect is what changes they expect in this job role.

Their pay and package

Pay and package might be another reason for employee turnover. This section should deal with questions like what they thought about the total compensation package they were receiving. It helps in knowing whether the employee was satisfied with their pay.

Pay is a contributing factor in employee retention. So, it is essential to know to what extent the pay and package played a role in the decision to leave. At the end of the day, you will learn about the unaddressed demands and expectations of your leaving employees.

Their reason for leaving

Employee exit surveys should directly ask the main reason for the employee’s resignation. It should also include questions like when the employee started searching for a new job. It helps to know what the employee desires in the new job role that might have been lacking in the last organisation.

Their supervisor

It is also essential to understand the relationship between the supervisor and the employee. To know if the constraints between the supervisor and the employee forced the employee to leave the organisation, questions about the challenges they were facing with the supervisor may be helpful.

You may also ask your employees if there was any communication gap. This feedback helps an organisation to strengthen its management.

Their team

There is an utmost need to understand the dynamics within a team. Employee exit surveys should include questions on team collaboration and team atmosphere. Team meetings help in building a better bond. This feedback is likely to be constructive and helpful in team building.

Their workplace and culture

Often, it happens that an employee is dissatisfied with the work culture. A company’s culture plays a crucial role in employee retention. It is, therefore, necessary to know if the employee feels safe in the organisation and who is the most approachable person to attend to their concerns. Harassment and discrimination are serious offences, and the organisation on top priority should address them. If an employee has experienced such issues, find out why.

About the organisation as a whole

This topic may include questions like if the exiting employee will recommend your company to family or friends. These questions help to know the reputation of your company. It should also ask questions about their view on the training and development program, the pros and cons of being in this organisation, etc. Asking these questions can benefit your company.

Ask leaving employees to complete exit survey

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Samples of employee exit survey

Do you get overwhelmed when your employee leaves your company? Do you get thoughts like what made them leave the company? What could you have done to make them stay? What were the reasons behind such a decision? It is always important to ask the leaving employees these questions to get all these answers.

Leaving employees tend to give more genuine and honest answers that might help to uncover the underlying problems. A survey questionnaire enables one to get a deeper insight into the pros and cons of the company. Surveying the leaving employees helps in collecting essential data for the company’s development.

Employee exit survey – sample questions

  • What was your job role in the organisation?
  • How long have you been part of this organisation?
  • What factors contributed to your decision for resignation (reasons for leaving)?
  • What did you appreciate the most about the job?
  • Were all the resources needed for your job role accessible?
  • Were you satisfied with the package you were receiving?
  • How was your relationship with your supervisor and teammates?
  • Were you recognised for your work?
  • Did you feel safe in your job?
  • Did you face any discrimination during your tenure?
  • Were you informed about the company’s policies and procedures?
  • How do you rate your training and development program?
  • How satisfied were you with your work in the organisation?
  • Do you want to give any feedback to management?
  • What would be some of the things you would like to change in the organisation?
  • Will you recommend this company to your family and friends?
  • Are there any additional comments that you would like to add?

In Summary

When a company experiences high turnover and low employee satisfaction, and there is a need for employee retention, an employee exit survey can help you to know the reasons behind these problems. The employee exit surveys highlight the areas that are of concern in the company that may require change.

Every organisation has its employee exit survey questions tailored to determine the reason for employees’ exit from the company. Employees’ feedback on their job role, supervisor, team, pay, workplace environment, and training facilitates in assessing the organisation’s performance.

About the Author

Bushra Miftah is pursuing Ph.D. from a reputed university. She is an ardent writer and works as a content writer intern at PyjamaHR.

Team 6Q

Team 6Q