Employees leave companies every day. Some choose to leave for personal reasons, some switch careers but others leave for better pay and opportunities. In fact, according to Pew Research, the main reasons people quit their jobs in 2021, a.k.a. the Great Resignation, was due to low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement and feeling disrespected at work. If your employees are leaving for these reasons, it could reflect a bad company culture.
What is Company Culture
Company culture is defined as shared beliefs and values established by leaders and then communicated and reinforced through various methods, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviors and understanding, according to SHRM. And it’s extremely important when it comes to employee engagement, retention and even recruitment.
Glassdoor’s Mission & Culture Survey 2019 found that:
- More than 77% of adults across four countries (the United States, UK, France, Germany) would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there,
- 79% would consider a company’s mission and purpose before applying and
- More than half of the 5000 respondents said that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.
And if you don’t know what your company culture is like, an exit interview can provide some valuable insight.
What are Exit Interviews?
Exit interviews are conversations HR has with exiting employees. Through exit interviews, HR is able to glean valuable insight into why employees leave. The information gained helps HR track turnover and highlight any problems or issues the company might not be aware of, including when it comes to managers, supervisors, crew leaders and even co-workers. Learning about company issues can also help you understand where your culture is strong and where it’s lacking.
How to Conduct an Informative Exit Interview
As with any process, you want to make exit interviews as efficient as possible, so you learn enough useful information.
Come to an exit interview prepared by asking questions that will get to the issue as to why the employee left. Questions should help you understand the employee’s level of job satisfaction, how they felt their efforts were recognized, relationships with co-workers and managers, development opportunities and company culture. Some examples include:
- What prompted you to look for another job?
- Do you feel you had the tools to do your job well?
- Did you feel your manager recognized your work?
- How would you describe your relationship with your co-workers?
- How would you describe your relationship with your manager?
- Were you given the opportunity to learn new skills?
- What company processes do you think could be improved?
- What was the best part of your job?
- What did you like least about your job?
- What would you improve about the situation that’s causing you to leave?
Keep the Interview on Track
A good exit interview should provide valuable feedback while sending the employee off on a positive note, leaving the door open for a possible future return. What it shouldn’t be is a gossip session about worksite or office drama. HR needs to set the tone of the interview that’s professional and focused on the employee’s experience by keeping the meeting on track.
Keep in mind, exit interviews are not always positive. Robert Half suggests being prepared for negative comments and resisting the urge to make negative comments yourself; don’t take anything too personally. It’s your responsibility to remain professional, composed and uphold your company’s reputation.
Do Something with the Feedback
Don’t let the valuable feedback you’ve gained go to waste. Analyze what you’ve heard, look for trends, share the information with leadership and figure out what the next steps are. If you consistently hear about issues, create an action plan to make improvements. For example, if you see a trend where several employees say a manager doesn’t possess leadership skills, either provide development opportunities or evaluate how the company promotes employees. Or if employees don’t feel appreciated, take a look at your recognition program and see where improvements can be made, like treating employees to monthly lunches or posting employee achievements on the website and social media.
The information gleaned from exit interviews can help improve your company culture, which can give you the upper hand when it comes to keeping the employees you have and attracting new ones.
Using HR software, like Arcoro’s Performance Management, can help managers guide their employees’ careers, helping keep them happy so they remain at the company. Robust performance management may help you have to conduct fewer exit interviews.
Arcoro® Performance Management is a cloud-based solution that empowers team members to direct their own career development toward mutually agreed upon goals and competencies, while enabling managers to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the overall team and keep them focused on achieving their goals. By benchmarking, tracking and evaluating employee performance over time, HR teams gain all the insight needed to make informed personnel decisions. Arcoro Performance Management centralizes goals, competencies and 360-degree feedback to create a career roadmap for employee and organizational success.