Employee retention is one of the critical parts of a business continuity plan. Employees are assets, and they are the blood of businesses. They keep the company operating and improves customer relationships, creating a loyal and diverse consumer.

As such, companies need to implement a program to keep their employees. Having a low retention rate in the company is a big drawback. Having a low retention rate means that turnover between employees is high. Businesses keep hiring new people to replace others, resulting in more time and resources training new staff.

When this happens, the management needs to investigate and learn more from the employee. An employee exit survey should be conducted with the leaving employees to understand their reasons for departing.

An effective exit interview can give a company the needed insight and teach them what good experiences to repeat and what cases to avoid. In addition, an exit interview is probably also the last meaningful interaction with the company. As such, it’s great to leave a remarkable impression for them to perhaps recommend the company or opportunity in your organization to potential candidates.

Why should we conduct an exit interview survey?

Although most companies conduct an employee exit survey, these are not usually required. Unless indicated on your contract, a company cannot require an employee to complete an exit interview before providing a clearance.

Still, many companies would appreciate an employee accepting an exit interview as it’s a great avenue to gain information and improve their policies and work environment. An exemplary employee exit survey question would help them specify the cause of why an employee left the company and how they can improve their management. Often the feedback employees provide is positive. When it’s not, they provide you a valuable insight into fixing it for your existing employees and creating an effective recruitment plan.

Likewise, it can be a great avenue for both parties to learn from each other and end on a good note.

When should we conduct an exit survey?

When conducting a face-to-face exit interview, companies should schedule the interview two days before the very end of an employee’s stay or before they entirely leave the company. Most employees will appreciate the gesture as, and it will generally result in more productive conversations.

It’s also a brilliant idea for a company to prepare an employee exit survey form and provide it before the meeting. Some employees may prefer to prepare for the interview in advance. This will give them a chance to fix their thoughts and provide better input.

Keep in mind, however, that they will less likely be candid in their response.

Things to remember when collecting feedback?

It’s essential to be prepared before conducting an employee exit interview. There are several reasons why an employee left your company – personal or work-related. As such, you want to get as much feedback as you want out of this interview.

The preparation you do in advance, along with your ability to interview and make the employee comfortable, will contribute to the effectiveness of your interview. As such, here are some tips you might want to follow when conducting an employee exit survey.

  1. Send out Questions in advance

Providing employee exit survey questions in addition to interviewing the employee face-to-face will likely increase your chance of getting meaningful feedback from the employee. Some people would want to ensure that what they say on an exit interview will not be held against them or their future career. It could be harder for them to construct an answer on the spot. Providing them the time to think and construct their thoughts will help them deliver their concern more.

The survey questionnaire is also a great avenue to collect a broader range of information about why the employee left. Some employees might feel that they aren’t paid enough but are shy to say this in person. Providing a survey allows the employer to dig deeper into their reason for leaving.

But remember, you still need to conduct a face-to-face interview after collecting the survey. This is to verify the employee’s answers and for you to ask more questions if needed.

  1. Familiarize with the employee

The HR team member conducting the interview should know or be brief about the employee, their role, experiences, and history in the company before the interview. This is to display respect and show them that the company cares about them.

For starters, learn about the basics. Their position, salary, career trajectory, and process. Then, be sure to know any notable accomplishments and contributions they made. Make sure to congratulate them and celebrate the employee for their achievements.

Lastly, ask about their team, supervisor, or manager. Learn their experiences while working in your company. You need to make sure if there’s any significant cause that made them leave your company. 

  1. Be a good listener

Even if you have prepared for this interview and provided survey questionnaires, you still need to understand the situation as to why the employee is leaving. Some employees might feel awkward and beat around the bush when expressing their concerns in an interview.

Pay attention and be a great listener. This means not only listening to their answers but also observing their body contact, eye contact, and more. You need to know if they feel comfortable answering your questions. You want to make the employee feel comfortable and heard. Suppose an employee is leaving due to being unheard or undervalued. In that case, they might think that everyone in the company is the same. As such, the HR team can counter this thought and be an attentive listener. Remember that this interview is all about the interviewee and not the interviewer.

Lastly, being an active listener will help you draw out more thought on their feedback and ask follow-up questions. This is an excellent opening for the business to resolve any long-standing issue within the management that might still be frustrating other employees. Take this as a chance to create a better workplace for your remaining employees.

  1. Ask the right Questions

Even when you have already prepared your questions, you still need to keep the interview conversational. Consider making an interview flow or framework. Listen carefully and find an opening to ask more questions to keep the conversation flowing.

The more your leaving employee speaks, the more feedback you can get. To begin the interview, ask first the reason for leaving the company. After that, ask management-related questions. Ask how they felt working in this company and if the management had treated them right. Were they given the right tools, or have their achievements been recognized? Likewise, ask role-specific questions like tenure ship, job description, and skills. 

Lastly, ask more about the company, such as benefits, communication, and policies.

Sample exit interview questions (and why we recommend them)

Before conducting the interview, be sure to prepare your employee exit survey questions. It will help you cover all the areas that you might want to look at. Every organization will have its own need to understand its employees and why they are leaving. As such, you might want to consider these themes below on your employee exit survey to understand them further.

  •         Reason for Leaving
  •         Feedback on role compatibility
  •         Feedback on their manager and team members
  •         Issues faced with a team
  •         Feedback on the overall organization

What to ask your leaving employee?

There are tons of employee exit survey templates available online.

Here are some exit interview questions we recommend. You might want to revise it, depending on your company policy, need, or opinion.

  1.   Why are you leaving?
  2.   How is it working with your team members? Who are the top five people who made the most positive impact while working with the company?
  3.   How is working with your supervisor? Describe the best thing about working with them?
  4.   How do you feel working for this company?
  5.   What were the five things you liked most about working here?
  6.   On a scale of 1 to 5, how is the company doing right now? Why? How do you think we could improve our company?
  7.   How do other personnel feel about the company?
  8.   What is something you think the company should do to make the employee feel more appreciated? Any tops in motivating junior members of the company?
  9.   What do you think of employees leaving the company? How do you think we can improve this?
  10.  If you could alter five things in the company, what would they be?
  11.  Is there anything you would like the company to implement while you were here?
  12.  Did you think the new employee orientation program is effective? How do you think we can improve it? What’s the best part of the orientation?
  13.  What guidance do you have for the next person in your position?

What not to ask your leaving employee?

While it’s essential to cover all areas of your employee exit survey questions, keeping the discrimination-free interview is also vital. If the employee informs you during the interview that their leaving is due to a fight with another employee or management discriminates against them, remember not to put fuel to the fire.

Exit Interviews should put emphasis on the company and the leaving employee. It’s a way to help the management extract feedback that can be used within the company’s policy and ways to increase employee morale. This conversation is also an opportunity for the employee to share their opinion.

So, suppose the employee has provided some complaint. In that case, it’s essential to take this up at another meeting and ensure using the proper procedure. Likewise, here are some things that you need to discourage when conducting an exit interview.

  1.  Don’t insert your opinion on any issues faced by the employee. Make sure to keep neutral when you ask for feedback about a supervisor or team member.
  2.   Don’t feed on the office gossip and rumors. Keep the interview constructive and reliable.
  3.  Don’t say anything that could create defamation. Do not feed the employee any information about other employees’ experiences. Although they might find it reassuring, this could negatively affect your or the management if the employee gossips this information around.
  4.  Don’t give any information on other employees’ performance. These data should not be shared with other people – especially with a leaving employee. This could create chaos and insecurity with another employee.
  5.  Don’t get into personal issues. Keep the conversation work-related.
  6.  Don’t try to persuade the existing employee to change their mind or stay with the company. This is not the time to make them last. Conversations like this should happen before the time of resignation.

If you are scared that you might include this in your questionnaire, try downloading a free employee exit interview template from HR-approved websites. These can be an excellent start to make your interview questionnaire and flow.


After interviewing your leaving employee, remember to put this feedback to good use! Nearly all exit interviews can help a company identify tons of opportunities for development and improvement.

Make sure to analyze and translate it to a viable solution. You might want to compare the answers of leaving employees to create more valuable insight. Look for patterns in feedback from all outgoing employees. With this, you can identify some internal causes or any possible company issues.

It may be great to upload your notes into the spreadsheet to quickly analyze and scan the information to find similarities. Share any key indicator from these data with your supervisor and management. Feedback is necessary to improve. If you do not notice a trend, try to get insight from your manager or team members.

However, do not forget to ask permission from the employee if you can share their answers on the employee exit survey with the management. If the employee doesn’t want to share anything, remember to paraphrase their remark and not reference their name.

Your company and management can now revise any policy issue, job description mistake, employee problem, and more with this information.

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Pamela Chelsea Ortiz - Content Wizard

Pamela is a full-time content writer and a lifelong Philomath. Her previous experience as a research analyst made her passionate about traveling the world and understanding how it works. During her day off, you can often find her indoors, writing stories or oil painting.

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