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Why Are Your Employees Leaving? Exit Interviews Reveal the Truth Behind Employee Turnover
January 4, 2006
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New York, N.Y. -- “I received a better offer.”

How many times have you heard this phrase? When pressed for a reason, many employees say that they are leaving their job for a larger paycheck. While compensation most likely figures into the decision, dollars are typically not the only reason an employee will terminate their relationship with an employer. Oftentimes, employees leave due to a lack of professional development, dissatisfaction with supervisors or co-workers, or lack of career advancement.

If predictions are correct, employers may be hearing “I received a better offer” more often in 2006. According to Working in America: The Disgruntled Workforce Survey, 77 percent of the more than 1,000 workers polled in the online survey are unhappy in their current position and are either actively or passively looking for a new job. The survey also revealed that 46 percent of those polled would consider leaving their current employer if the economy continues to improve.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), each employee who leaves a company generates a significant cost. Conservative estimates place that cost at 50 percent of an employee’s salary. The potential cost, however, can be up to 300 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Besides the monetary impact, it’s important to remember that every time an employee resigns, they not only walk away with their valuable skills and knowledge, but also may leave unfinished projects and lowered morale in their wake.

All is not lost for a company, however. Employers have a chance to gain insights on ways to improve their workplaces and lower turnover by establishing an exit interview process for departing employees.

“Employees who have resigned may be less hesitant than current employees to speak the truth on organizational issues. Plus, their exposure to other organizations may provide them with additional insights that could be valuable to the company,” explained Jennifer C. Loftus, SPHR, CCP, CBP, GRP, National Director, Astron Solutions.

Still, ex-staffers may be uncomfortable with the idea of giving honest feedback directly to someone in their former organization for fear of “burning bridges.” The outsourcing of the exit interview process to a neutral, third party firm allows former employees to remain completely anonymous while freely sharing their opinions. The interview questions, which focus on what they liked/disliked about their jobs, reasons for leaving, and suggestions for changes, can be administered either via paper forms, the Internet, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), or a combination thereof. Once the responses are gathered, employers can see what areas in their workplace are in need of improvement or change, and create a plan of action.

Follow through is the most crucial element of the exit interview process. “If management chooses not to address discoveries unearthed during exit interviews, lower employee morale may result. Employees and former employees often keep in touch. Word can spread about the impact of employee comments on organizational change. Without some management action, time, money and effort spent in gathering data may cause a negative reaction from current employees,” added Loftus. Even if management cannot institute necessary changes right away, it is crucial that issues are noted and addressed.

Although it is easy to simply dismiss former employees, smart employers understand that feedback can provide a wealth of vital information imperative to overall organizational success. Exit interviews put this information within your grasp. Take hold of the facts before the negative aspects of turnover take hold of you.

More information on the study is available at http://www.astronsolutions.com/  
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