Employee Engagement & Retention FAQ

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Why should I hire a company to conduct employee feedback instead of doing them internally?

To ensure accuracy and remove bias. Employee feedback programs need to be specifically targeted to increase retention through an independent, third-party after the employee has left the organization. When conducted internally, it is likely the true intents of the employee are not revealed because they are not being honest with their managers or HR professionals. This often happens because they do not want to burn a bridge or disappoint their coworker.

Research shows that employees change responses 40% of the time when comparing an interview conducted by an objective, third-party to an internal employee.


  • Hinrichs, J.R. (1975). “Measurement of reasons for resignation of professionals: Questionnaire versus company and consultant exit interviews.” Journal of Applied Psychology 60 (4): 530.
  • Campion, Michael A. “Meaning and measurement of turnover: Comparison of alternative measures and recommendations for research.” Journal of Applied Psychology 76.2 (1991): 199.
  • Hinrichs, John R. “Measurement of reasons for resignation of professionals: Questionnaire versus company and consultant exit interviews.” Journal of Applied Psychology 60.4 (1975): 530.

What insights should Exit Interviews provide?

Exit Interviews are widely used tools, intended to provide the reasons why employees leave with insights to help inform changes to prevent further turnover. However, frequently, Exit Interviews are conducted through internal interviews with supervisors that do not deliver true reasons, or through quantitative surveys that provide only a rating. Although efficient and turnkey, these methods do not provide the truth or reasons to explain the ratings.

Insights should reveal:

  • Real reasons employees left
  • Opportunities for organizational improvement
  • Employee attitudes around workplace conditions of organization, manager, team, and job
  • Strategies to prevent future turnover
  • What it would take to get employees to return
  • Potential compliance issues

Why should I conduct Exit Interviews instead of Stay Interviews?

Conducted in the right way, exit interviews help understand the employee’s perspective on the company, their supervisor, their team and their job. It is also an ideal time to find out if the employee was aware of any unethical or non-compliant behaviors.

Stay interviews are intended to get employees to stay longer and exit interviews are intended to uncover root causes of turnover. With two distinctly different purposes, stay interviews and exit interviews are not mere opposites. Instead, they should work together to capture the unique voice of employees at different stages of the employee experience.

What is the Voice of the Employee?

Voice of employee is defined as the opportunity for employees to express concerns about policies in the workplace and offer ideas about how to improve conditions in the workplace. Within the concept of employee voice, there are two types: formal and informal. Informal employee voice is defined as the ability for employees to provide feedback and discuss concerns on a daily basis. Formal employee voice is defined as structured communication channels provided by the employer, including systems to file grievances and employee surveys. Formal voice of employee, specifically employee surveys, is the focus of this information.

Asking employees for feedback through formal employee studies and surveys is a way to give employees a voice. However, it’s critical that the voice of employees has an actual impact and real influence on the organization. To effectively give employees a voice, organizations must meet three criteria:

  1. Provide structured channels for feedback in the form of surveys
  2. Create a culture of acceptance for feedback
  3. Demonstrate that the feedback influences organizational changes and improvements.

How is research conducted?

Our primary means of conducting research is via live telephonic interviews conducted by trained behavioral interviewers. This approach allows us to probe for additional information where needed as well as gather data in a conversational manner. We can conduct web-based interviews for research being done with current employees. For special projects our Senior Consultants may conduct in-person interviews.

How quickly can I expect my data?

Timeframes for turnaround on research can vary depending on how the research was done. Results for web-based and telephonic interviews are posted to our Navigator reporting system generally within 3 business days of interview completion. However, outreach to the eligible study participants occurs over a period of about 6 weeks. This means from submitting participants in a study through completion of the outreach cycle and interview finalization can take up to 7 weeks.

How does Work Institute protect participants’ anonymity?

Protecting participants’ identities can be critical in certain types of studies. In a confidential study our Navigator reporting platform requires any output to have at least 5 eligible study participants available for that reporting variable. You may only have 1 completed interview but if there were 5 eligible participants you would be able to view that segment of the data.

Most of our exit interview studies are done non-confidentially, as our experiences have shown that confidentially for employees who have left your organization has a minimal impact on the amount or quality of the data the interviewee provides.

How long are the interviews?

Our average interview lasts 12-15 minutes. This is by design because as interviews approach or exceed the 20-minute mark, an interviewee’s behavioral energy can begin to drop and ultimately compromise the quality of the data collected.

Employee Retention & Engagement Strategies

We employ several strategies and tools to assist with employee retention programs, talent development solutions, employment consulting and data gathering. Ask questions. Be engaged. Retain Employees.