Do exit interviews help in reducing attrition?

Roshni / 15 Mar 2019

Exit interviews are as important as Hiring process. But the question here is do they help in identifying and fixing the problem for attrition? Find it out yourself here!

Employees leave your organization for different reasons; some are mostly unavoidable. But if you often encounter your employees being dissatisfied, less productive and an attrition rate that is higher than the average for your industry, we have a problem to solve. Often organizations conduct and prefer exit interviews to understand how and whats of the employee’s decision to leave their job.

But I am here to tell you otherwise.

Exit interviews will not help you fix this problem and reduce attrition beyond a certain extent.

But before I discuss my points on why exit interviews no longer help with attrition let’s understand what exit interviews are, first.

Exit interviews are fundamentally an interview with the employees who are leaving the company conducted by the HR or an executive team. The primary purpose of conducting an exit interview is to gain helpful insights, find pitfalls, take necessary steps and prevent it from being repeated in the future.

How does exit interviews work?

  • Process and its objectives:

The departing employee goes through an Exit Interview. The interview method varies from company to company and process to process like In-person, over the phone, written or web-based, etc., These interviews are aimed at collecting information about their job experience so far, problems they faced and what made them quit their job.

Note: Exit interviews are not conducted for employees who are fired.

  • The believed outcomes of conducting an exit interview:

It is believed that feedback received through exit interviews can be used for organizational improvement for fixing the underlying issues, to create a better workplace for the existing employees and reduce attrition.

  • But what happens;

To start with, when an employee decides to leave your company, the probability of them giving you the real reason for their termination is very less. They may consider it as a formality along with the resignation process rather than doing it as a help for the company’s development.

The problems might become more severe as they are being addressed late. And because of that, there are chances of an unexpected termination of top performers of your company. Employees are more likely to become less productive seeing a good employee leave.

Excluding all the negative aspects of the exit interview, even if you conduct an effective exit interview and take serious efforts to make changes, it cannot help in reducing attrition.

The new approach:

The question is why you would wait till an employee leave your company and then use the feedback from the exit interview for organizational improvement? Instead, you can regularly ask for feedback or give them the space to inform on any difficulties they face at work. This way you solve the problems for root up which will mitigate the chances of serious issues in future.

Though it is inevitable that employees will leave your organization, there are few reasons you can concentrate on reducing attrition. The three primary reasons why employees quit their job are working in inappropriate job role, pay, and workplace issues. When employees are given the freedom to tell about their pain points anytime, they feel more comfortable, more engaged and more productive.

How to address these three major problems:

  1. Addressing inappropriate job role

Some employees would have already found their passion and would have made a definite decision regarding the career path they want to take. For those employees, you can’t do much other than to encourage them to keep up their good work, show appreciation and address their issues, if they had any.

But when it comes to employees who are still confused in deciding their career, you play a vital role in helping and guiding them to find the solutions. One big step you can take towards reducing attrition is guiding your employees to choose their career path. This quote will explain it better.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” - Albert Einstein.

Yes! Every employee is talented. It takes little time to discover what they are capable of and passionate about. And as an organization, if you help them bring out their real potential, you give them something more than money, you add value to their professional career.

Placing your employees to work in appropriate job roles that they are interested in will reduce their stress and attrition. And when employees work passionately, you don’t have to force productivity, it is, after all, one of the results from a happy employee.

  1. Reward and Recognition

Though money might not be the only factor that contributes to the employee’s decision to leave, it can still become a significant concern when not taken seriously. Employees are likely to change jobs when they believe they lack recognition and reward for their skills and contributions, or when it is no longer sufficient.

So when you address these problems earlier, you can prevent attrition to a larger extent. 89% of bosses wrongly believe their employees quit because they need an increase in their pay. However, there are reasons like no career advancement and workplace issues which has a higher impact on employee attrition which has to be fixed.

  1. Workplace issues

According to Leigh Branham, author of The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, employees are more likely to quit their jobs because of something happening inside the organization rather than because of an opportunity from outside.


The most effective step you can take towards reducing attrition is to have a regular check with your employees work experience. UnderstandBetter helps you with survey questions covering all the aspects of employee’s work experience. You can easily use it to evaluate and find out the areas of rectification and improvement. Make changes in the workplace culture if required. Preserve employees happiness and productivity which will ultimately preserve your employees from terminating their job.

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