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Why are exit interviews important?

Why are exit interviews an important aspect of talent management?

Exit interviews can be insightful and identify issues within an organisation which might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Concerns around leadership and management, low morale and even observations about business processes and systems can all be gleaned from a constructive exit interview.

Putting actions in place in response, will help businesses fine-tune their onboarding processes, improve performance management and demonstrate to your employees that the business is supportive of, and values, its people.

Over 6.5 million UK workers plan to quit in the next 12 months

That's according to data from CIPD's Good Work Index, published earlier this year. Understanding the reasoning behind the desire to jump ship and identifying exit trends within your organisation may keep you one step ahead of your competitors.

Whilst pay and benefits is the major consideration, other factors cited in the CIPD report such as overall job satisfaction, job quality and design and work-life balance are also important (the latter much sought after for those already in a hybrid arrangement). Dissatisfaction with management is the reason given by 1 in 5 employees looking to leave, as is the lack of career development opportunities. Inadequate employee recognition, lack of transparency and poor communication concerning the company's vision and goals are also common issues.

The CIPD recommends companies should focus on these factors, not just pay alone in order to address turnover -

"All jobs have the potential to be better and we should aspire to make good work a reality for everyone in the workforce."                                     

Melanie Green, Research Advisor, CIPD

The company hears you

Ensuring your workplace culture is a positive one is perhaps one of the most, if not the most important aspect of any business. The success of your business depends on high productivity, efficiency, proficiency and positivity from the top-down and the bottom-up.

Exit interviews are a key element since they provide a means of assessing morale within the organisation and whether an effective working culture is embedded in every process.  

In PwC's Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey - which sampled 52,000 workers across 44 countries - 71% said salary was the most important consideration in their resignation, with job fulfilment (69%) not too far behind. Interestingly, 66% cited 'I can't truly be myself' as significant factor.

PwC identified 5 key factors which together make up the 'Resignation Equation':

  1. Lack of job fulfilment
  2. Unable to be their 'true self' at work
  3. Less likely to feel renumerated fairly in relation to others
  4. Feel unsupported by their team
  5. Feel unsupported by their manager.

Exit interviews provide useful intelligence

So whilst it could be argued that holding exit interviews might be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, it's worth considering that by incorporating exit interviews into your business strategy, you could discover an important means of gaining useful intelligence.

Data collection should also cover the next move on - what attracted the departing employee to their new company? How long had they been looking to move? Was it one particular issue that was the deciding factor in them leaving? 

Data can provide an interesting perspective on how an organisation operates and where its strengths and weaknesses lie. If a company can understand the specific reasons behind why employees are departing (the CIPD and PwC surveys are providing us with common factors) it can enable companies to make informed improvements.

In our next blog 'Make exit interviews work for your business' we'll look at the exit interview process, the questions to ask and who should be asking them.

How can Q&A People Matter help you?

Do you need advice setting up an exit interview strategy or advice concerning other HR-related matters?

Contact us - we're here to help you.


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