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How To Learn from Employee Turnover

How To Learn from Employee Turnover


Why are people leaving your organization?

My client’s eyes glazed over when I asked her this. She didn’t know why more than 13 percent of her workforce left every year – and hadn’t even thought about figuring out the reasons.

In my experience, most organizations fail to document why people leave.

If they do conduct exit interviews, they often don’t probe deeply enough. Or, they fail to effectively learn from their findings and implement change for the better.

People Join organizations they leave managers.” Bill Hybels

How to Keep People

According to The Wall Street Journal, by the time a talented worker has decided to leave, it’s probably too late to make the necessary improvements to keep them. But, finding out why people aren’t staying with your organization is critical to your future success, especially in tough economic times.

Keeping competent employees is one of the best ways to save your organization a lot of money and keep a cohesive and healthy workplace culture. The high cost of hiring and training employees warrants that you learn from what isn’t working, every time.

There are several reasons why people leave.  In previous articles we have discussed many.  One area that continues to gain attention is organizational vision or lack thereof. Make sure your vision is properly integrated within your HR programs.  Employees need to be part of it and understand where you are going.  A recent article from Barnard Marr on CNBC.com cites “No Vision” as being a leading cause of turnover.  I agree.  Most employees want a hope and a future and a great vision that is bought in by all helps create energy in the workplace.

So, appreciate the rich source of information that a good exit interview brings!

A good exit interview finds out these three (3) things:

  • What the work climate is really like?
  • Whether and how are your managers are failing.
  • What’s missing?

Do your employees get what they really need to do well? If people are leaving too frequently, it’s time to find out why.

Make sure your exit interview includes these three (3) questions:

  • When did you realize you wanted to leave?
  • Did you and your manager set goals and objectives together?
  • How often did you receive helpful feedback from your leadership?

Ending Well

First, conduct your exit interview with a spirit of grace and graciousness. Your concern and honest inquiry into the reasons your employee is leaving will yield valuable insights if you put them at ease. This is where your core values come in.

Second, remember to set up an exit interview at a time designed to give you the best information. Don’t rush in at the last minute, just before your employee’s departure, or try to get information after they’ve already moved on.

Finally, wish the employee well in their new endeavor. At some point, they may want to come back. If they feel cared for during this last important experience, they will know that the door is still open. Losing a talented employee is disappointing, but it might be redeemed if they happily return in the future.

Have you used exit interviewing before? Please take a few moments and tell our community of readers your experience.

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In His Name HR helps organizations build high performance Human Resources programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or e-mail them here.

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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