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The Importance and Necessity of Actionable Exit Interviews

The necessity for employers to utilize the highest quality of Exit Interviews that produce actionable insights has never been greater.


So what exactly are high quality Exit Interviews? It’s simple really. High quality Exit Interviews are those that allow the former employee to be candid enough and comprehensive enough to give the exact reasons for leaving and provide key insights into the relevant workplace conditions that attributed to their decision to leave.


High quality Exit Interviews provide the feedback organizations can use to create the conditions that prevent current employees from leaving in the future. When an organization knows the exact reasons employees leave the company, they can make changes that would prevent employees from leaving for the same reasons in the future.


Exact reasons for leaving are not ratings or survey responses. Exact reasons are answers to the question “why did you leave?” Many Exit Interviews require the former employee to pick a reason for leaving from a list. Those reasons often include compensation, manager, schedule, etc. These responses provide a broad reason for leaving or limit the employee to these general reason, but they do not provide specific actionable intelligence the organization can use moving forward to prevent another employee from exiting.


Actionable Exit Interviews probe further than getting a simple reason like compensation. These Exit Interviews ask the former employee to go into further detail. Surveys with drop-down boxes do not allow the former employee to go into further detail by providing a specific reason for leaving like a high-quality Exit Interview does.


Here at Work Institute, we often interview the employee who claims they left their organization because of a compensation issue, but when we press harder and ask them specifically what kind of compensation would have kept them retained, they mention they aren’t paid enough to deal with their manager, or a coworker, or certain process required of them. When this happens, it shows that compensation is not the exact reason for leaving.


There are other aspects to high quality Exit Interviews that are needed to garner truthful responses. Research proves that up to 63% of employees change their reason for leaving when the Exit Interview is conducted by an external party instead of an internal resource. This is because the employee does not want to hurt anyone’s feelings or burn any bridges.


When organizations utilize actionable Exit Interviews they generate truthful and detailed responses from former employees providing the needed information to make actionable changes that prevent future employee turnover.


This current job market is already competitive enough as it is. Now is not the time to set your organization back by conducting low quality Exit Interviews that do not provide the data necessary to keep employees from leaving in the future.