How to Get More Responses from Employee Exit Surveys


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How to Get More Responses from Employee Exit Surveys
By Sarah James

Everything HR need to know to improve response rates for Employee Exit Surveys. Departing employees who feel disgruntled, unhappy or dismayed are sometimes hard to get feedback from about why they exit. Make sure exit surveys are short, focused and relevant so that the employee exit survey information can assist with retention of employees.

Exit Interview Theory - image

HR Managers are increasingly aware that many people leave an organisation because of their boss. And unfortunately when this happens often it is a challenge to secure this feedback because the person who exits the unhappy employee is often the person responsible for the employee’s departure. That is one of the reasons why many HR Managers are incorporating exit surveys into their exit process: they want to capture the full range of reasons for people departing their organisation and correct personnel issues that are causing retention issues.

That said employees who are fearful, angry or dismayed at a company are often the most reluctant to express these feelings. To gather this feedback requires special care and some proven techniques. The information below offers five things that should be considered when the exit survey is being created.

  1. Keep your exit interview short. A well thought-out survey can appear to be only 15 questions due to branching and filtering being used so that employees only see the questions relevant to them. In reality the survey itself can be a lot larger and more complex because of this.

  2. What do you really need to know? Focus on questions that can drive improvement for the Organisation.

  3. How much of that need-to-know information do you know already? Pre-load the data that you know already about the departing employee so that your exit reports contain more depth while ensuring that the employee is not required to waste their time filling out information already known about them. Often this data is demographic in nature and may include information such as Department, Location, Tenure, Gender, etc

  4. Keep the survey anonymous but offer the ability to become non-anonymous if certain responses are received. For example, if a person responds that they have been bullied in the workplace use branching to ask that person if they would like to leave contact details so the matter can be followed up with them in more detail. If they nominate yes they would like to be contacted have a notification set up to alert someone within your team so that the matter can be addressed. Often when addressed early this can prevent matters from becoming litigious.

  5. Communicate to all employees who are exiting how the collective data will be used and then use it in this fashion! Provide feedback to the wider company about how feedback has been used as often departing employees will still be in contact with people from your current team.

  6. What do you really need to know? Focus on questions that can drive improvement for the Organisation.

In summary, remember that in order to get response rates up exit surveys need to be: short, focus on serving questions relevant to the specific person departing, not waste time by requiring information already known about the person, anonymous except where a response requires further action from the organisation, purposeful regarding how information will be used and kept top of mind through reminders.

Trial an Australian-built exit interview survey tool:

PeoplePulse is an Australian built online feedback and survey tool used extensively by Australian and New Zealand based organisations to discover the real drivers and motivations of your workforce. The tool can also be used by HR to conduct cost effective exit interview surveys, staff climate surveys, training needs analysis surveys, and 'new starter' feedback surveys to name a few popular uses.

Please complete the form below to arrange your FREE custom-branded exit interview demonstration and a PeoplePulse pricing and information sheet.

Upon completing the form below, a PeoplePulse representative will contact you to discuss your needs and current situation. From there we will set up your demo and arrange a suitable time to show the system to you:


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