How to Discuss Exit Survey Results with Managers

You may be well-versed in exit survey data and how to uncover the most insightful information, but there’s a good chance your manager isn’t. They likely have limited exposure to such information, so they don’t know how to read it...much less take action on it.

After HR reviews the data, you have two options. 

The first is to deliver the results to the manager and let them run with it. More experienced managers who have dealt with turnover previously might be able to comprehend the reports and create a strong action plan. 

But we recommend meeting with your manager and helping them sift through the report. This allows you to make sure they’re understanding the key points and creates a conversation to address potential turnover issues.

This four-step plan will help transform the data in your report into a plan for managers to execute on:

  • Start with the results. Turnover can come as a bit of a shock, especially to new managers that aren’t used to employees leaving. Ease their fears and bring them back to a comfortable place by meeting with them and breaking down the report. Meeting face-to-face (or over video) allows mangers to ask questions or make comments. Their input can also provide more clarity into why the employee left and what impact their departure will have on the team.
  • Share aggregate trends. Reviewing the reports without context will likely have little impact. Give the data some meaning by showing comparative numbers from other departments/teams in the organization to help them understand where their team stands and why turnover occurs. The manager may feel that the reasons for their turnover are unique, but they could be a part of a larger trend in the organization. This can work both ways: if the manager isn’t used to turnover, it will help calm their fears. But if their team is experiencing a high turnover rate, you have some context to bring to a tough conversation.
  • Set next steps. Once the manager understands why the employee left, address future action. Share tips about how other teams deal with turnover or share well-documented national stories. Feel free to use our resources and blog for a wealth of info on handling turnover. Arming the manager with useful information can help alleviate confusion or frustration by the turnover.
  • Encourage the manager to utilize 1-on-1s and/or feedback to further the conversation with their team. When an employee leaves, the manager may feel they need to take on the vacated responsibilities until a new employee is hired, causing unnecessary stress. Encourage them to speak with other team members to generate ideas on how to break up the workload and how to move forward in the interim. This is a team effort, so let all parties be a part of the conversation.