People are a major investment for your company. You need to know what they think and how committed they are to the company’s success. So, why would a manager care what employees think after they are gone? Besides using “lessons learned” to improve retention of valued employees, clear and honest exit data is the only way to learn candidly what is going on that current employees will never risk telling you.
Exit data is some of the most important data a manager can have. During the recession, when employees were not quitting their jobs, 90% of Strategic Programs exit interview clients continued their exit interview contracts – even if their turnover was acceptable. Why was this a good business decision?
Current employees rarely tell someone who controls their pay that there is a problem. Rare communication is anecdotal data, which is unacceptable for making solid business decisions. Exited employees candidly tell trained, professional interviewers the unvarnished truth when they are guaranteed confidentiality of their responses or given a comprehensive survey.
Quality exit interview data coming from employees at the end of the “employee lifecycle” is the only way for managers to get large quantities of the unvarnished truth that will help them to:
- Learn what motivates high performers, compared to others. Great employees leave for very different reasons. Your high performers, confident in their knowledge, skills, abilities, and interpersonal competence, will be the first to leave as the economy improves and competitors temp them.
- Manage turnover – not just reduce it. Utilize exit data to know exactly how best to engage, reward, and retain your currently employed top performers, and how to cycle out less effective employees. You need a lot of data to sort it for levels of competence.
- Retain employees in hard-to-fill positions. The time required to fill these vacancies, along with supply and demand, contributes to the high cost of turnover for this group.
- Plan proactively to maintain an effective, productive workforce as the economy improves. With significant turnover before the recession, one client cut pay three times during the recession, and reduced turnover. To meet customer expectations, they could not cut staff. Management’s “we’re all in this together” attitude announced the reasons for pay cuts, and they took the same hit. Staff felt respected, accepted the decision as fair, and were glad to keep their jobs.
- Enhance new hire onboarding. Identify development opportunities in your onboarding process by including employees with early turnover in your exit interviews. This is a group often overlooked compared to employees with high tenure.
- Predict when increasing compensation will be a retention solution. Wouldn’t you like to see it coming? To know that your dollars, and how many, will make a difference for what positions?
- Improve safety, integrity issues, and reduce policy violations in “red flag” reports. This priceless data lowers the risk of litigation.
Exit interviews aren’t all bad news. Each one includes what the former employee misses about the job – which is a priceless message to both current staff and potential new hires during the recruiting process.