There are several reasons that can account for this:
- Exiting employees may have little desire to provide feedback. They may want to leave on a good note and not burn any bridges on their way out.
- We don’t know the best way to contact them. Maybe we turned off their email and office phone, but don’t know their personal email address or phone number.
- An oversight by the Human Resources department or management may have happened, such as the manager failing to inform HR of the exit in a timely fashion.
- The manager might not want to conduct the exit interview because they are afraid of receiving feedback, don’t want to hear any excuses, don’t think the feedback will be valuable, etc.
With these barriers in mind, here are some steps that we could take to improve exit survey response rates:
- Set up a process for collecting feedback. Using our Feedback or Pulse features, we can automate the exit survey process – a request for feedback (plus reminders) will be sent to the departing employee when you deem it appropriate. Typically, we would automate this using an existing company email address, but if the employee has already left, we can reach them via a personal email address.
- Ensure there is an existing protocol for what happens when an employee decides to leave. Managers may immediately start thinking about how to cover the existing work of the departing employee and notifying HR of an exit may be low priority. Ideally, we would want managers to follow a straightforward process to ensure people don’t slip through the cracks. Ensure managers understand how best to notify HR of a termination.
- Communicate the exit process well before it occurs. The first time an employee learns about the exit survey should not coincide with their departure. It would be best to inform employees of the exit process when they first onboard with the company. Let them know what to expect well before it happens.
- Clearly explain the purpose of collecting exit feedback. An employee might be caught off guard if they just see a random request for feedback pop-up in their inbox a week before they leave. A manager or leader should let them know ahead of time that a survey is coming and the importance of it. Tell them why you value their continued feedback and ensure they know you will use their feedback to help make the workplace better for both current and future employees.
- Share out the action taken from exit feedback to current employees. If we never actually do anything with the feedback, then why should employees respond when it is their turn to leave? If current employees know that you listened to and cared about the feedback from prior employees, then it can create a willingness to share their own feedback if they ever found themselves in the same situation.