Turnover is just one of the realities and costs of doing business. Employees come and go for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons may lie with the employee’s circumstances while other reasons could be due to your company. Either way, wouldn’t you want to know why your employees are leaving?

The problem is that it’s costing companies a lot of money to hire and train employees. Employees leave during training, right after training, and other times a few weeks or months after training. What’s the cost? The accounting department of any organization will tell you that it’s a lot of money. There’s a multitude of expenses (ie: hiring expenses, background checks, training, training material, administration, etc.) not to mention the cost of paying the employee for their time. The cost per employee that leaves shortly after training is usually in the thousands of dollars. If your organization hires frequently and you have a high turnover rate, the true cost may be in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands per year.

What can you find out from an exit interview?
If the reason your employees are leaving are due to your company, then exit interviews can help you lower your turnover. You can find out a wealth of information that can be used to improve your company’s approach and decrease the turnover rate to save your company valuable resources. Was it the employee vetting process to find qualified people? Was it training that the employee feels wasn’t adequate to prepare them for the job they were hired for? Was it the system, process, or company policy that the employee had a challenge with? Was the trainer or their manager part of the issue as to why they left? Did they feel they received the support of their manager or supervisor to help them succeed on the job? Or was it that their supervisor made them uncomfortable that HR would not agree with?

I used to work for a company where I noticed that turnover was unusually high. After doing a little research, I found out that certain managers not only weren’t giving their employees the support that they needed, but to top it off were intimidating their employees of getting fired on a constant basis. The picture that emerged was that certain managers were creating a culture of “management through fear” which, as many authors of leadership will tell you, is totally contrary to the way to manage people.

Whatever the reason, it’s important for your company to find out. One exit interview by itself doesn’t tell the entire story that will tell you if something is broken in your company, but with enough exit interviews, a clear picture will eventually emerge to help you take care of the challenges your company may be experiencing with turnover. Nobody enters a company with a plan on quickly leaving it for another job. Instead, most people envision joining a company that they can grow with, and usually hope to eventually move up in the ranks.

How should exit interviews be conducted?
Create a list of general but important questions that will help uncover potential issues. Ensure that the person conducting the exit interview is someone that is respected in your company but not linked with the leaving employee’s prior role.  This should not be done in an intimidating way and should only be fact finding. The employees need to know that their responses will in no way affect them and that it is being conducted only as a way to improve turnover.  Another way to do this is by having the employee complete the questionnaire by themselves prior to leaving your company.

Compile the answers as they become available in a way where you can easily see responses for each question. Remember, the goal here is to create a big picture of what is going on in your organization.  Review the information and look for areas that you and your department can improve.  It’s quite possible that you will also uncover something that you can share with another department to improve as well.  Keep in mind that one employee’s portrayal of a potential issue may not mean much, however, if you notice that several people are stating the same thing, then there may be more to the issue that needs to be looked at.

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with the way you are doing business. But what if there are issues? Are you willing to leave that to chance? In today’s litigious society, and with companies streamlining their budgets and resources, it will likely help you identify challenges that you can remedy. It may even save you a lot more than you expected.


Agile Corporate Training LLC is a consulting firm focusing on organizational training and development, helping equip your organization with the tools to create meaningful change. We specialize in productivity and performance development, providing effective, measurable, agile training solutions to quickly put your business staff on course.  Our main focus is in your business success.

Contact us for more information on this topic and how we can help your organization. We also offer complimentary consultation for your training and development needs.  Give us a call to discuss your needs.  We’re here to help.