The Exit Interview Questions Your Managers Should Be Asking When An Employee Leaves

A study from Investors in People suggests that 49% of UK workers want to quit their job in 2016. These employees cited bad leadership, poor pay, and mismanagement as some of the key reasons they’re looking for employment elsewhere.

These kinds of statistics can be disheartening for business owners — if half of employees intend to leave this year, how much hope does that give a company that wants to retain their workers?

Although it can be challenging, there are tools that businesses can use to increase retention. One of them is the exit interview.

These conversations are a powerful way to evaluate and discern an employee’s reasons for leaving. By opening up a dialogue, businesses benefit from important feedback that helps increase retention rates moving forward.

When you create an agenda for a standard exit interview, include these important questions. They will give you the information you need to make decisions that support and help retain your best employees:

1. How Was the Onboarding Process?

The onboarding process is a pivotal part of a successful employee experience. It can make or break a worker’s time at your business. At its best, this process sets people up with the knowledge base they need to move into their roles. At its worst, onboarding is non-existent. This question can help you gauge its effectiveness at preparing team members.

2. Did Your Work Experience Live up to Your Expectations?

Many workers start a job enthusiastic for the role only to realize it’s not the position or environment they hoped for. If your organisation isn’t living up to the way you position it during the hiring process, learn what you need to know to make adjustments.

3. Did We Give You Opportunities to Learn and Progress?

A lack of opportunities to progress professionally is one of the key reasons British workers want to leave their jobs in 2016. It’s essential that managers discern if their employees have a clear career path at your business — if not, they’ll leave. Try to figure out whether you’re doing a good enough job creating growth opportunities.

4. Did You Have the Support and Resources You Needed to Do a Great Job Every Day?

The best businesses empower their employees with the tools, resources, and managerial support they need to a fantastic job. It’s essential that you know whether workers felt undermined by a lack of support or resources

5. Did You Enjoy Your Work?

Most people know that when they genuinely love what they do, they do better work and persevere through challenges. The best managers try to align employees’ work with the tasks and projects they most enjoy. In an exit interview, it’s important to gauge if the worker just came in for a paycheck or because they found joy in their job.

6. What Were Your Best Moments on The Job?

The answers to this question help you to understand what the business is doing right. For example, if an employee really enjoyed a holiday party or weekly coffee meetings, you know they’re an essential part of job satisfaction. Take notes, and make sure to build on these moments whenever you can.

7. Is There Something Different We Could Have to Done to Appreciate You as an Employee?

The majority of workers in the UK feel underappreciated for their contributions to their employers. According to, employees want to be paid an extra £1,608 a year to make up for a lack of thanks in the workplace. Recognize whether your employee felt appreciated, and take note of any suggestions they may make.

8. How Would You Describe Our Work Culture?

Especially for millennials, work culture is a big part of how and why they choose jobs. It’s important to confirm that your business supports a positive, motivating work culture rather than a toxic environment for employees.

9. What Was Your Primary Motivation for Leaving?

This question is the most important one on the list. As a manager, you need to know why an employee is leaving. Ideally, you should already have a sense of any challenges the worker faced from regular one-on-one meetings. The answers to this question also give you an idea of how your business stacks up to its competitors — maybe other organisations offer more perks or a better work environment.

10. What Could We Have Done to Keep You?

Whatever the answer to this question is, consider implementing it immediately with your team members. For example, if a former employee tells a manager that their wages are too low, or you don’t offer enough flexibility, chances are they’re not the only ones who feel that way. Taking immediate action can stop more employees from leaving.

11. I Don’t Know Why the Business Just Doesn’t ________.

Ask your employees to fill in the blank for this question. This powerful idea from professors Everett Spain and Boris Groysberg gives you great information about quick fixes for your business. There may be an obvious solution or improvement that you haven’t considered.

12. Would You Recommend a Friend or Family Member Work Here?

If an employee would recommend a friend or family member for a job at your business, chances are they had a positive experience overall. They’re most likely leaving because it’s the right time rather than due to a particular issue.

13. If Not, What Could We Do To Change That?

Your employees know the business better than anyone. Asking for their guidance about hypothetical changes shows initiative, exhibiting that you’re willing to have tough conversations and make real changes.

14. Is There Any Way I Can Help You With This Transition?

Ending the conversation on a positive note is a really good thing for the business. It’s not uncommon for the best employees to come back to work for a company after a couple of years away. By helping to facilitate the transition, you also leave the door opened for a relationship moving forward.

You can assess the strength of your exit interviews by the extent to which they make a positive impact on the workplace. By following up and implementing changes that come to your attention during exit interviews, you set your business up for continued improvement and increased employee retention.

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The Exit Interview Questions Your Managers Should Be Asking When An Employee Leaves