Let's say you hire a new marketing director, and a year later, you see a severe increase in turnover rates. Out of 15 employees, only seven from the prior year remain.

Undoubtedly, an increase in turnover rates can impact your team's productivity and morale, and leave you nervous about the future of your department.

So how do you figure out what's going wrong, or how your marketing director can improve her performance to ensure higher job satisfaction for her team?

To determine what causes employees to leave, and to create a better, happier employee experience moving forward, it's critical you conduct productive exit interviews.

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To ensure you're asking the right questions during exit interviews and employing best practices to get optimal feedback from your employees, take a look at our Exit Interview Form template, followed by the best practices HubSpot's HR Business Partner recommends.

Exit Interview Form Template

Once an employee has given her resignation letter, you'll want to send her a form with some (or all) of the following questions. Give her time to submit her answers through the form before meeting with her to discuss her answers, face-to-face.

Here are some of the questions you'll want your exit interview form to include:

1. How long have you been considering leaving our company?

2. How did the job match expectations?

3. What reason below primarily describes your reason for leaving?

a. New industry (significant career change)

b. Compensation

c. More opportunities for learning and growth

d. Personal Reasons

e. Manager/ Leadership quality

f. Day-to-day work environment/culture

4. If you have accepted a new position, please select all the items that are more attractive about your new role:

a. Better pay

b. Better culture

c. Better location/ commute

d. Different industry

e. Manager

f. Better work-life balance

g. More career advancement opportunities

5. What did you like most about your job?

6. What did you dislike about your job? What would you change about your job?

7. How would you describe the culture of our company?

8. How would you describe the general atmosphere in the office?

9. The quality of supervision is important to most people at work. How was your relationship with your manager?

10. What could your supervisor do to improve his or her management style and skill?

11. We try to be an employee-oriented company in which employees experience positive morale and motivation. What is your experience of employee morale and motivation in the company?

12. Please provide any context to further describe your reasons for leaving. Was there an event that led to this decision?

13. What were your reasons for joining our company originally? How have your feelings changed?

14. Do you believe your manager supported your professional development?

15. What are 1-2 things our company could do to promote a better workplace?

16. Please provide context and any additional feedback you’d like to provide on your manager.

Exit Interview Best Practices

According to a study conducted by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), on average it costs a company between six to nine months of an employee's salary to locate and train a replacement for them -- so if the employee who's leaving makes 60K, that can work out to anywhere between 30K and 45K in recruiting and training costs.

Undoubtedly, a high turnover rate can hurt your company financially. Additionally, a high turnover rate can lead to less productive teams, and lower employee morale overall.

Ultimately, an exit interview doesn't just help you understand why your talent is leaving -- it also helps you ensure you can implement strategies or cultural changes to improve the satisfaction of employees who stay.

However, it's not always easy to discern what a highly productive exit interview looks like.

To learn more about exit interview best practices, I spoke with Winston Tuggle, an HR Business Partner at HubSpot.

When it comes to exit interview best practices, Tuggle suggests, "For conducting productive exit interviews, I think one key is asking the same questions of all people who leave. This structure allows us to codify the exit responses so we can extract actionable data around why people are leaving, and how we can improve the employee experience. We do this by having a standard exit interview form that leavers submit, and then have an unbiased third-party follow up in-person to go deeper on the answers the person filled out in the exit interview. Exit interviews aren't necessary unless you plan on using them to gather as much data as possible that can be coupled with employee survey data to understand the employee experience."

Tuggle also notes, "[It's critical you understand] the 'why' behind someone leaving ... to gather trends over time. As an HR team, it helps us to not overreact to one person's experience and conversely helps us identify trends that we can proactively address before they lead to more unwanted attrition."

Additionally, it's important you explain the purpose behind the exit interview to each employee before you begin. You might say, "We hope to use your feedback to continuously improve our culture and business processes, so we are interested in your honest opinion on how your experience has been."

You'll also want to make sure your exit interviews are confidential between the HR team and employees. While data or general insights can be used to improve employee experience and should be shared with leadership, your employee needs to know her exact complaints won't reach her old manager or coworkers.

Finally, be sure to thank your employee for taking the time to provide feedback during an exit interview. While one individual likely can't pinpoint issues regarding an entire team or department, you'll likely see commonalities over time that can help you determine how you can improve your workplace for the long-run.

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Originally published Jan 8, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated January 08 2019


Human Resources