Turnover: Learn from the Lost

By: Chris Leech, November 22, 2016

Each year, we speak with hundreds of organizational leaders who are struggling with high employee turnover. Our conversations often start with the suggestion that using competency-based behavioral assessments to bring in higher-quality candidates will result in fewer losses of staff. While that is often the case, it isn’t always the full solution. Hiring effectively with right-fit workers will reduce turnover, but if there are problems imbedded within the company culture, you might still see turnover even with higher caliber candidates.

There is usually more than one root cause for employee dissatisfaction. A recent article on Forbes.com listed some of the most widespread complaints…

9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit

1) They [bosses] overwork people

2) They don’t recognize contributions or reward good work

3) They don’t care about their employees

4) They don’t honor their commitments

5) They hire and promote the wrong people

6) They don’t let people pursue their passions

7) They fail to develop people’s skills

8) They fail to engage their employees’

9) They fail to challenge people intellectually

These are not problems of the hiring process; rather, they are internal management issues. In order to pinpoint specific reasons for high turnover, organizations need to consistently conduct exit interviews. A properly structured exit survey will provide data critical for making positive internal change.

There are three important points to remember when setting up an Exit Survey:

1) Ensure you are gathering all the necessary information. Survey questions should be consistent so that data can aggregate easily for trend analysis. Be sure to gather demographic data. Often, the drivers of turnover differ by department, region and even gender/age. Lastly, make sure you are collecting a weighting on each reason employees give for leaving the company. Exiting employees usually provide two or three reasons, but one of them is typically the true driver.

2) Make sure you can easily collect the information. Online surveys are convenient and provide simple and effective reporting, but you need to build them into your off-boarding process. If properly embedded, you will receive higher completion rates and therefore higher quality data to affect change. If possible, have the employee sit down and complete the survey in the office or at HR when turning in badges, keys, etc.

3) Make sure you use the data. It’s one thing to collect and analyze data, but cycling those findings back to the business leaders is a step that is often neglected. It’s important to gain leadership buy-in up front so that when the outcomes are reported, the proper audience is available to drive change.

Turnover is a complex challenge, but with the proper hiring and off-boarding tools, businesses will gain a true understanding of their weaknesses and be able to make improvements. Not only will this reduce turnover, but it will enable your remaining employees to see that the company is listening, is committed to its employees, and is working to improve the office environment for everyone.