The Great Resignation has come as a challenge for managers and companies across many industries. People predicted it was possible once covid settled, but the jolt of losing workers is always hard. Some reasons why workers are leaving can be guessed—a better salary or more flexibility—but others are better identified through exit survey questions.
Exit surveys aren’t the easiest to conduct—even during the best of times—but they’re vital. They’ll give your company insights into why workers are leaving, along with information that you can act on to change the trajectory of your organization by increasing retention.
What should I try to uncover through exit survey questions for employees?
As with any engagement program or survey approach, your specific strategy will be based on your company’s needs and circumstances. But there are general questions and topics that you should be looking to understand in any exit survey.
We’ll go into specific questions in a moment, but here are a few main categories you’ll want to focus on:
- Why employees are leaving
- What your company could have done to keep them
- Would they recommend your company or come back to work there.
All our other questions will drill-down into further detail, but these categories are helpful frameworks as you think through some of the information you want to identify.
What are the questions I should ask?
Now that you have a general framework for categories and topics to drill-down on, here are category specific exit survey questions that you can ask.
Why the employee is leaving
- How long have you been looking for a job?
- Why did you start looking for a different job?
- Why did you accept the new job?
- Did you talk to anyone at [Company Name] before deciding to leave?
- Rank the following factors in order of how strongly they contributed to your decision to leave [Company Name]: Role & Responsibilities, Leadership/Direction, Management, Career Opportunities, Company Culture, Compensation & Benefits, Personal Circumstances
- Please tell us more about the most important factor affecting your decision to leave?
What your company could have done to keep them
- While you worked at [Company Name], did you have access to the tools and resources to do your job well?
- While you worked at [Company Name], were you treated fairly and with respect?
- Did you sense a mismatch between your values and those at [Company Name]?
- Is there anything about the culture at [Company Name] that you wish was different?
- Is there a problem with management or senior leadership that caused you to leave?
- Did you have a clear job role, expectations, and performance indicators?
- What one thing could we have changed to make you want to stay with [Company Name]?
Would they recommend your company or come back to work there
- Would you consider returning to work at [Company Name] in the future?
- If you came back, what would you expect to have changed?
- Would you want to come back to [Company Name] in a different role or the same one?
- How likely are you to recommend [Company Name] as a place to work?
- What sorts of things would you tell others about [Company Name]?
- Are there training, development, or resources you’d expect to have before you’d come back?
- Did working at [Company Name] live up to the expectations you had when you joined?
- Would you seek out the opportunity to work with your manager again in future?
- Do you believe the people who lead [Company Name] are strong role models for our values?
- What one thing about our culture at [Company Name] should we strive to protect?
Remember: These categories and questions are suggestions, but not gospel. It’s possible that your company will have unique needs, and you can customize your survey to include any specific question that you want answered.
The benefits of exit survey questions for employees
As you can see, exit survey questions are versatile. Your goal is to uncover any and all important information that will help you understand why workers are leaving. Ideally you’re able to uncover patterns, common threads, and identify issues that you can resolve so that future workers don’t leave based on problems that can be solved.
Not every worker will be as willing to be open and direct, so your surveys will need to toe the line between the delicacy of the circumstance, and asking the right open ended questions.It’s often that the most important information you need to find out is the exact thing that workers are hoping they don’t have to mention.
Lastly, exit surveys are honed and improved over time. Turnover will happen at any company, so it’s important to improve your exit surveying and the experience workers have as they’re leaving. It isn’t uncommon for workers to boomerang back to their old companies—which is another trend we’re seeing during covid—and this boomerang is more likely if workers have a positive and supportive experience on their way out.
Are you ready to start improving your exit survey?
Whether your exit survey needs a revamp or you’re hoping to launch an employee listening program for the first time, Workify is here to help. Our team of engagement experts is backed by I/O psychologists, and they’re equipped to tackle all the changes faced by emerging HR trends.
Connect with us today to improve or start your engagement program and get on the right track toward high employee satisfaction in the changing, hybrid workplace.