The Importance of Creating Exit Survey Expectations from Day One

To get meaningful responses that drive action, exiting employees should understand what to expect when they depart. Communication is key. Follow these three steps to manage everyone’s expectations.

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Make the Exit Conversation a Part of Onboarding

Discussing an employee's potential departure when they are starting a new job may feel uncomfortable, but it's essential to establish that understanding.

If an outgoing employee receives a random survey email after giving their two-week notice, they are likely to ignore it or provide quick, superficial responses.

To address this, inform employees early on about the typical exit process. While you hope for a long-lasting working relationship, acknowledge that circumstances may lead them to leave at some point.

Provide guidelines, such as the expected two-week notice and how the departure will be announced. Be open and honest with them, explaining that the exit survey is crucial for understanding the reasons behind their departure and how their feedback will contribute to improving the organization.

Inform Managers and/or Department Leaders of the Survey and its Timing

Managers play a crucial role in creating and sustaining engaging experiences for their team members.

Avoid surprising them with information that they weren't aware of being recorded. Inform them beforehand that exiting employees will be surveyed, and the data will be utilized to make informed decisions in the future. Let them know that HR is available to offer one-on-one coaching if the results reveal recurring issues within their team.

Emphasize that the exit survey is not meant to scare them but rather to gather valuable insights for making the company a more desirable workplace. If you feel comfortable, share the survey questions with them so they are aware of what employees will be asked.

Transparency in this process will help foster trust and understanding among all team members.

Follow Up on Data

Conducting exit surveys without a plan to take action is futile.

Once you have gathered a sufficient sample size, carefully analyze the data for any patterns or trends. Identify reasons for employee departures such as inadequate pay, lack of benefits, or problems with managers.

After identifying these issues, develop a plan to address and resolve them.

If your goal is to retain talent, you must address the root causes of their departures. By directly addressing their pain points, you increase the likelihood of retaining valuable employees and creating a more positive work environment.