Who Should Be Invited to Participate in an Exit Survey For an Involuntary Exit?

Sometimes there won’t be a benefit to asking for feedback about a departing employee from their coworkers. Our technology can be set-up in a way to source feedback only from voluntary exits.

As a simple rule-of-thumb, do not seek feedback from existing employees when their exit was involuntary. 

Here are some scenarios for when NOT to send feedback requests:

Does this position have historically high turnover? If there is a high rate of turnover for this position, it isn’t worth bugging peers to provide feedback. For example: let’s say you oversee a call center where turnover annually exceeds 100% and the average tenure before departure is nine months. It won’t make sense to crowd-source feedback from all groups of employees – you would overwhelm them with surveys. Instead, save the 360-style feedback for more unique cases – the exit of a high-performing supervisor or a long-tenured employee (5+ years). Limiting when you source feedback may help capture more actionable feedback.

Is the employee retiring? If the exiting employee is retiring after a long and dedicated career with the company, there may be little value in sourcing feedback from all levels of existing employees. We would recommend reaching out to direct reports and leaders for a different purpose – What’s the best way to fill the gap left by the retiring employee? While this may still be in the form of a survey, the purpose would be different. We aren’t trying to determine why someone left, rather we want to determine how to move forward. We want employees to think about the changing needs of the organizations and to determine the appropriate next steps. Maybe the role responsibilities are doled out to prior direct reports, maybe a current leader absorbs the role, or we fill the position in a traditional sense (promotion or outside hire).

Was there a unique circumstance leading to the exit? Perhaps there was a death or debilitating injury that accounts for the exit. In this rare and unfortunate circumstance, the organization needs to think about what is best for the departed employee’s family as well as current employees before proceeding with any type of feedback collection. In a case like this, we would recommend offering one-on-one in-person conversations for any employee that may need guidance or assistance in coping with the departure.

Was this round of exits part of a lay-off or reduction in force (RIF)? Never fun but sometimes unavoidable, RIFs and lay-offs happen. In this case we would recommend not reaching out for feedback from current employees. However, it is beneficial to communicate to current employees as much about the RIF as possible – providing reasons why, communicating next steps, etc.