Exit interviews are a great way to understand why a staff member is leaving and if there is anything the company can do to prevent or slow the rate of employee resignations. They also give you insight into your company culture helping you delve into your business’ strengths and weaknesses.

This blog will explore everything you need to know about exit interviews and how you can use them to your advantage to help reduce staff turnover.


Why are exit interviews important?

Exit interviews are important as they can help you reduce a high turnover rate and improve staff productivity in the meantime.

The Society for Resource Management (SHRM) says that on average it costs a company between six to nine months of an employee’s salary to find someone to train and replace them. For example, if the person leaving was earning £60,000 it would cost a company between £30,000 and £45,000 in recruiting and training costs to replace them.

This highlights that high turnover rates cost employers a lot of money when it comes to recruitment. In some cases when senior members of staff resign it can cause those under their management to leave as well, costing a business even more money.

Exit interviews will also showcase to staff that you care about providing the best possible work environment, by taking on feedback and making necessary changes to improve employee satisfaction.

To help you ask the right questions we’ve put together a list of what you should ask in an exit interview below:


How long have you been thinking about leaving the company?

Understanding how long a member of staff has been considering leaving will give you insight into whether the decision was made quickly or if it had been thought about for a long time.

If the decision was made within a short time period then it’s possible that a certain event, such as miscommunication or a misunderstanding encouraged them to look for a new role.

This can also help you understand whether you have any internal issues or if the job simply wasn’t quite right for them.

When listening to the feedback you should also consider whether any major company changes happened within the time period they started searching for a new role that could have influenced their decision.


Did your job role match your expectations?

The role may have completely met the employees expectations, but their career path or progression may have changed meaning they started looking for a more senior role or a higher paying job.

If the job role didn’t quite meet their expectations it can give you an insight into how you can improve future job specifications and improve your company image.

During the interview you should look out for comments like ‘I thought I would be doing more of…’ or ‘I thought I’d be working for a more established company rather than a start-up’, as these types of feedback suggest that you may need to spend more time in the candidate screening process. This is to ensure that interviewees understand the role they’re interviewing for as well as making the background of your company as clear as possible.


What is the most significant reason motivating your decision to leave?

Asking an employee what encouraged them to leave the company can help you understand whether there is anything you need to change or introduce to the business. For example, if a staff member is leaving to become a stay at home parent, it may be a sign that you need to offer better maternity or paternity care, or even need to adopt more flexible working arrangements such as working from home to make it easier for parents to work.

If they’re changing careers you might want to look into how you can make it easier for people to change roles or departments within your business. Introducing these opportunities could help reduce staff turnover and improve satisfaction.


If you’ve accepted a new role, what was the biggest reason you took it on?

This can be a great follow up to the previous question, as it can help you dig deeper into why they made the decision to leave. For example, the staff member could talk about higher pay, a change in location or moving to a new industry. While there’s not a lot you can do about changing your office location or industry, you may be able to make improvements to pay (if possible) based on the information given in exit interviews.


What did you like most about your role here?

During exit interviews it’s important to also focus on the positives so that the discussion doesn’t feel really negative. It will also give you the opportunity to get insight into what people like about your company. For example, if a staff member says they love the people they work with, it may be a sign that you have a great company culture.

However, if the employee doesn’t talk about any core related aspects such as company culture or projects, but instead talks about free food or parking then you might need to consider rethinking your recruitment strategies.


What did you dislike about your role here and is there anything you’d like us to change?

When asking this question, you’ll want to remember that this is the employee’s experience and action should only be taken (depending on the seriousness of what’s discussed) if you spot a pattern within feedback gathered.

During the interview you should also look out for any emotional language or actions when the staff member is talking to see how they felt about working within their team, to see if any improvements need to be made within management processes.


How can Payescape help you reduce employee turnover?

Here at Payescape our payroll and HR software can be integrated to help you keep all data and information in one place, making it easier for tasks to be completed. This can help reduce staff turnover, as it increases the likelihood of tasks being completed correctly and efficiently helping to improve staff satisfaction.

If you start by getting the basics right, like implementing payroll and HR software, it can free up time for you to focus on other aspects like pay, company culture and workplace benefits, helping to reduce the number of employees leaving the business.

To learn more about how Payescape can help you organise your payroll efforts, get in touch with us today.

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