Who Should Be Invited to Participate in an Exit Survey?

Traditionally, exit interviews are conducted between the exiting employee and a member from management or human resources. While it's certainly critical to gather input from the exiting employee about why they left the organization, here at Quantum Workplace we know it's also extremely helpful to collect feedback from current employees who may have insights into the exiting employee’s reasons for leaving.

Think of the exit interview process as a 360 Feedback session. If you want to know the full story, why rely on just one voice?

Focusing solely on the exiting employee will likely give you only part of the whole story, for several reasons:

  • Exiting employees may be interested in leaving with grace. They don’t want to burn any bridges on their way out the door, so they might resist providing critical feedback...no matter how much the organization might welcome it. Don’t hold it against the exiting employee for doing this – an exit interview can be awkward and uncomfortable.
  • Exiting employees may not want to participate in the interview. If it was a particularly emotional or difficult exit, they may not want to relive that experience again.
  • Exiting employees may believe their feedback doesn’t matter. Maybe they are leaving because they were fed up with being misheard, misunderstood, or overlooked. Why should that change now?

In addition to the departing employee, we should also consider inviting their…

✓ Immediate Manager: Immediate managers can help from a performance perspective. Are we losing a top performer or did the exiting employee struggle to meet expectations? If an immediate manager is regularly meeting with their employees via 1-on-1 conversations, then they should have a good idea of how the employee was performing and possibly other factors that may have led to the exit.

✓ Teammates: These would be individuals that work for the same immediate manager. They can provide a perspective on performance but may also be aware of additional underlying factors. Teammates may be privy to work-life balance challenges, dissatisfaction with the work, culture or benefits, or may be aware of additional interests the exiting employee is pursuing (e.g., new job, higher education, etc.).

✓ Peers: Think of peers as close friends or from a cohort with the exiting employee (e.g., similar tenure, graduated from the same school, former teammates, etc.). These individuals, while possibly unaware of performance levels, may understand the personal reasons that led an employee to exit the organization. For example, they may be aware that the exiting employee’s spouse is pursuing a job in another city or country, and remote work may not be possible. Additionally, these individuals may have been aware of the impending exit long before it occurred – maybe there was a specific situation that ultimately led to the exit or they had been hinting at leaving for a while.

✓ Direct Reports: Employees that report directly to the exiting employee could sometimes be the last to know but are likely to be the most impacted by the exit. Direct reports are in a unique position that they may be aware of both performance and burnout related stressors. If their manager decided to take on too much work, both performance and attitude could suffer. Additionally, including direct reports in the process can help the organization start to plan for the next stage in the process – filling the opening left by the exiting employee. Direct reports might be interested in promoting into the position, may know of a qualified candidate, or may have opinions on what the role should look like moving forward.

Through the assistance of our technology and integration services we can help suggest a group of employees to include in the exit survey process for approval by administrators.