8 Critical Questions for Exit Surveys

Feeling disappointed when you learn that a team member will suddenly depart is natural. At that point, it is essential to set aside the disappointment and focus on understanding the reasons for the employee’s departure. Generally, these departures have clear reasons, which also pose potential risks for those continuing to work.


On the other hand, our work methods are rapidly evolving, and we all see clearly that regardless of how strong our intuitions are, decisions must be made based on data rather than instincts. Exit surveys are an important tool for uncovering potential issues in your company’s employee experience. With a properly structured analysis process, you can understand the fundamental reasons behind an employee’s decision to leave, take measures, and gain healthy insights into your talent management processes.


It is important to view the exit process, exit interviews, and exit surveys as building blocks of the employee experience. The exit process is as determinative as the onboarding process. A well-structured exit process provides you with a positive farewell opportunity. A positive farewell process improves your employee’s final impression of your company and is critical for your reputation.


In short, by adopting a data-driven approach, you can plan subsequent steps more effectively using the information obtained from exit surveys. By structuring a data-focused process, it is possible to improve your corporate culture, increase employee loyalty, and maintain your company’s competitive advantage.


What is an Exit Survey?


An exit survey for employees leaving a company is a type of employee survey that includes questions about why they are leaving their jobs, their level of job satisfaction, challenges they have faced, and their perceptions of the work environment and culture. This survey aims to gather candid feedback from employees because departing employees tend to be more open and honest. As a result, valuable information about the strengths and weaknesses of the workplace and the employee experience can be collected.


What are the benefits of Exit Surveys?


Understanding the benefits of exit surveys is crucial for employers because this process offers a range of advantages for organizations.


Identifying areas for improvement: After recognizing key issues within your organization, you can identify areas for improvement and address each one. For example, if feedback from departing employees consistently highlights a lack of learning and development opportunities, you can take steps to enhance the learning and development environment.


Increasing employee engagement: Exit surveys help you determine why people are leaving your workplace, providing you with an opportunity to improve and increase employee engagement rates. For instance, if most employees indicate they left for better pay and benefits at a competitor, it’s time to evaluate existing conditions and create better conditions for your valuable employees.


Gathering information about managerial performance: As is often the case, employees tend to leave their managers rather than their jobs. The good news is that departing employees are more likely to be honest about their relationships and potential challenges with managers. If you receive recurring messages about specific departments and managers, regardless of how indispensable they may seem, you need to take action. This situation doesn’t always have to be negative; if you notice a positive recurring theme related to managers, it also gives you a chance for appreciation.


Evaluating company culture: An employee exit survey provides a true reflection of your organization’s current culture from the employee’s perspective, making it incredibly valuable. The insights you gain serve as a mirror and indicate whether the messages you are sending externally align with the existing cultural perception. This enables you to take improvement actions.


Improving recruitment and onboarding processes: Asking departing employees about their experiences with the recruitment process and role expectations is a great way to improve recruitment and onboarding processes. For example, if an employee tells you that their role didn’t align with their expectations, you can review the job listing for that position once again.


Key Points for a Successful Exit Survey!


Explain the Purpose: When sending an email to your departing employee or starting the exit survey, it is important to explain why the survey is being sent and how their feedback will be used to make improvements within the organization. This explanation not only signifies transparency but also communicates to the employee that their feedback is valuable even as they make the decision to leave. This message increases the likelihood of the employee taking the time to complete the survey thoughtfully.


Timing: According to Moodivation experts, the exit survey should be conducted close to the employee’s departure date but before they actually leave. This timing ensures that the impressions are fresh and before they start working at a different company… We have seen from feedback received from our clients that this timing also increases the likelihood of participation in the survey.


Privacy: It is important for your exit survey to respect the departing employee’s personal rights, provide confidentiality, and inform them that the information they share will not negatively affect them. (Example: The information provided should not impact their job references.)


Survey Length: Ensure that your survey provides sufficient information but does not overwhelm the person who genuinely wants to complete the survey. Generally, it is important that your exit survey does not take longer than 5 minutes to complete and focuses on the most important areas for your organization. (You will see Moodivation survey questions in the following lines)


Clear and Relevant Questions: It is important that the questions you ask are clear, concise, and relevant to the employee’s experience and your goals. Therefore, different roles will often have different exit surveys.


Thank the Employee: Don’t forget to appreciate your employee’s contribution to the organization during their employment and thank them for taking the time to share valuable feedback.


And of course, leverage technology: Yes, you can conduct manual surveys, or you can even give a simple paper survey to your departing employee to fill out. Then you can manually convert all this information into Excel spreadsheets one by one. Or you can take advantage of technology and manage a data-driven process. You can get detailed reports, see recurring themes, and analyze at any desired breakdown. (Gender, experience level, department, branch, age, etc.)


Key Questions to Include in an Exit Survey:


An ideal exit survey should have a combination of closed-ended and open-ended questions. Single-response questions are important for quantitative measurements, but insights from open-ended questions are also crucial for qualitative development.


Through the Moodivation Employee Experience Platform, you can gather answers to the following questions and plan data-driven actions for your company:


  1. What were the best aspects of working here?

Exit from a job is not always a completely negative process. This provides a great opportunity to start with a positive question. The purpose of this question is to identify employees’ positive experiences in the workplace. Additionally, this question helps identify areas where the company is successful and wants to maintain.

Factors evaluated in the response to this question include management style, attitude and leadership of top management, workplace culture and values, physical location and conditions of work, salary and benefits, career and personal development opportunities, collaboration environment and team dynamics, recognition of employees, work-life balance, and employee health and well-being. Additionally, principles and practices such as equality, fairness, and inclusivity are also evaluated.


  1. What are your reasons for leaving us?

The answers to this question help identify why the company is losing employees, areas where improvements are needed, and employees’ dissatisfaction. This information enables employers to develop strategies to improve workplace culture, working conditions, and other factors. Additionally, it provides an important feedback source for directing the company’s workforce management strategies and talent retention efforts.

Factors evaluated in the response to this question include the attitude and leadership style of managers, senior management of the company, workplace culture and values, workplace location, working model (remote/hybrid), physical workplace conditions, salary and benefits, lack of career development opportunities, inability to develop talents, team environment and dynamics, level of recognition of employees, lack of autonomy, lack of appreciation, and workload.


  1. What are your plans after leaving?

The answers obtained from this question help us better understand the reasons behind the employee’s decision to leave and shape future workforce planning and talent management strategies. With the insights we gain, we can understand what we can do to support employees’ career development and offer opportunities to increase employee satisfaction. The answers obtained provide ideas for making the exit process a positive experience for the employee and ending the employment relationship positively. This enables us to develop a more effective talent management and workforce planning strategy and strengthen employee satisfaction by increasing workplace culture.

Factors evaluated in the response to this question include the employee’s career plans, future goals, and lifestyle preferences. These factors provide information about the employee’s motivation and plans behind the decision to leave. Choosing among options such as moving to another company within or outside the sector, spending time for oneself and family, retiring, starting one’s own business, returning to education, changing careers, going to military service, or changing city or country are among the influential factors in the decision to leave the job.


  1. Would you consider working with us again someday?

This question is asked to understand the employee’s commitment to the company, future employment relationships, and potential for return. The responses help us determine the employee’s attitude towards the company, satisfaction, and how they evaluate future job opportunities. The potential desire to return of an employee is important for employers to understand and develop strategies for their talent pool and potential return. Additionally, the desire to return of the employee can be an important source of feedback about the company’s workplace culture, career development opportunities, and other advantages.


  1. Would you recommend us as a good place to work to others?

The score obtained with this question allows the company to evaluate its workplace experience and reputation, and shows how the company is perceived among employees and how positive the workplace experience is. Additionally, the desire of employees to recommend the company is important for strengthening the company’s reputation and providing a competitive advantage in terms of talent acquisition.


  1. What are 3 things you would suggest to make this a better workplace?

The answers to this question are a great source of insight for managers who see receiving feedback as a gift. The responses and suggestions obtained are valuable for improving the company’s workplace experience and increasing employee satisfaction.


  1. I always had a good relationship with my manager.

The answer to this question reflects the quality of the employee’s relationship with their manager and the support or interaction they received from their manager. The quality of the manager-employee relationship significantly affects the employee’s satisfaction in the workplace. A good relationship can increase employee motivation, improve job performance, and strengthen workplace commitment. Additionally, evaluating employees’ relationships with their managers helps managers understand their leadership skills and interaction styles with employees.


  1. What will your new workplace provide for you?

The answers to this question help us determine the employee’s expectations and priorities regarding career goals, work experience, salary, and benefits. Additionally, the opportunities offered by the new workplace can affect the employee’s motivation and satisfaction with the job change.

Understanding what the new workplace will provide for the employee helps us better understand the reasons behind the job change and develop strategies to support employees in their career development and achieve their goals.

Factors considered in the responses to this question include better salary, comprehensive benefits, superior title, better career opportunities, development opportunities, improvement of workplace and working conditions, development of workplace culture, opportunities abroad, team management opportunities, more exciting role and job description. These factors include key elements that influence the employee’s decision to change jobs and shape their expectations from the new workplace.


You can write to us now to experience the Moodivation exit survey.