Exit Surveys – What Questions To Ask

Exit surveys are an excellent way for you to find out information why employees are leaving your business. Yet so few employers are properly utilizing it, if at all. This can mean businesses are doomed to repeat management mistakes that are costly and putting business profits at risk.

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Why Is Important To Host Exit Surveys To Staff?

According to many sources, about half employees are bad hires. The cost of a bad hire can depend on their job position or how long they’ve been in the organization. However, many sources state the cost is up to $10,000 for an entry level employee. This is a significant cost for many businesses and the real-value of this can be crippling, especially if businesses are making several recruitment drives in a year.

Exit interviews are a way for businesses to assess where hiring has gone wrong. Was there something that leadership could have done better to retain key talent or avoid hiring bad employees that were a disruption?

While interviews are good, surveys are much better. They allow for the respondent (the leaving employee) to give a fair and honest answer and not feel under pressure to give answers employers want to hear for fear of a bad reference. Surveys can be given anomalously and don’t require a manager to be present.

Once data has been collected by your business, you can then look for trends in the data to see what lessons can be learned. For instance, are a lot of people in one department stating that the atmosphere is unpleasant causing you to lose good talent? Or is a certain recruitment manager being bias in their hiring processes but bringing in people who aren’t lasting in the company?

What Questions Should You Be Asking In Your Exit Surveys

There are numerous questions that should be asked during an exit survey, but you’ve only got a limited amount of time and the chances are high that employees are disinterested in answering. Therefore, you’ve got to make each query count in your survey. Here are some of the most important questions to ask and why they’re important.

1. Why Are You Leaving?

This is something that should be asked regardless of whether you think you know or not. Some people hide their true reasons for leaving but will write it down in a survey. You might find that while an employee has been complaining about the commute to work, they’ve actually decided to leave because of the lack of career progression in your company.

2. Did You Receive Appropriate Support From Leadership?

This is a question that you might get some surprising results from. Many employees are willing to move jobs if they don’t like the leadership team in a business. This is often due to a breakdown of trust between the two parties. If you have one person who admits to this, there are probably others, so this can be a way to stop other key talent from leaving your business.

3. If There Was One Thing That Would Persuade You To Stay, What Would It Be?

Sometimes you’ve got to ask the hard questions. In this case, it’s asking where your brand has failed the employee. If they think that you should have provided an extra benefit, more support or greater communications in the organization, this is something that you can look into. It might also reveal where your HR team is failing in retaining staff.

4. How Was Your Induction To The Brand?

Some of your staff might not remember their induction. However, those that do might give you some excellent information into how they felt their on-boarding process was handled. Many employees will think about leaving a business if their induction hasn’t gone well. So this is the time to find out if your current induction needs a tune up.

5. What Was Your Greatest Achievement During Your Time Here?

Online reviews are everything nowadays and people are more pessimistic on the internet then they are in person. The last thing your brand needs is a disgruntled former employee placing a bad review of your employee policies on Glassdoors or another similar website. By getting them to focus on positive moments in your exit survey, you can reduce the risk of this happening. You can also collect information to build a generic response to all reference requests citing projects they were happy with.

6. Would You Use Us As A Customer?

This answer can give you some interesting feedback. If they say no, you can ask why and they might tell you things about your processes or staff you didn’t know about. Perhaps they know of a fault in your products or that certain staff are hostile to customers. This information can help you plan for the future and improve customer service, a final gift from your departing employee.


Employee exit surveys are an important part of HR. Yet too many brands don’t ask the right questions and just use them as a tool to say goodbye to a staff member. Yet with the right questions, you can collect valuable data that can help you improve your business’ operations.

Read the french version
6 questions à poser lors du départ d’un salarié, click here

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