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Know Before They Go

Posted by: Alison Elsaesser

How To Leverage Insights From Your Exit Data To Retain Your Employees 


Too Little Too Late 

Too many companies attempt to save an employee after they have already made the decision to leave.  At that point it is too late!  They reached the decision point well in advance of handing in their notice.   

While you may not save this particular employee, you do have an opportunity to save others.  How?  Listen to this employee’s feedback, and others who have left, to learn what triggered them to leave. Lean into your exit data insights to fully understand their concerns and find ways to retain your employees longer.  

How are you leveraging feedback from your exiting employees? Do you use exit feedback, or are you like many companies that use Exit Surveys to just “check the box”?  What is the data telling you about the “why” behind employee departures?  Is there a consistent theme or story former employees are telling that you might be missing? 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 4.3 million Americans, roughly 2.9% of the workforce, quit their jobs in August of 2021, a record breaking month. 

You Are Not Alone 

The good news/bad news is that you are not alone if you haven’t yet collected or used exit feedback as a part of your employee experience journey. Many companies are not fully leveraging the data and insights they have at their fingertips to help them better understand their employees and to make a real impact on engagement, wellbeing, productivity and retention. 

The other good news is that it is quite simple to start leveraging the data you have.  You can make a difference starting today by asking your departing employees about the factors impacting their decision to leave.  

 The “Great Dissatisfiers” Are Driving “The Great Resignation” 

What are your employees’ “Great Dissatisfiers” that may trigger them to leave even faster in these unprecedented times?  If your employees are like the employees represented in our benchmark data, their dissatisfiers are real and are heavily influencing their decision to seek employment opportunities elsewhere. 

 National Insights Gleaned From Exit Survey Data 

We were curious and did some digging into the data.  Based upon the anonymized data of 163 companies who conducted Exit Surveys in 2021 using the People Element Platform, here are some common themes and insights uncovered. 

Theme 1:   I didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to grow 

Theme 2: I didn’t have the resources and support I needed 

Theme 3:  I didn’t feel my company valued me 

Theme 4:  Communication was ineffective 



What Can You Do? 

It is not too late.  Here are 4 steps you can take RIGHT NOW to understand your employees like never before by leveraging the data you already have at your fingertips. 

1. Listen to your employees 

First of all, if you’re not asking your departing employees for their feedback, it’s not too late. Leverage confidential exit surveys to easily gather feedback from those who provide a unique perspective to the employee experience. You can link exit data to current employee feedback to help identify key trends and issues across the employee lifecycle.  

2. Seek to understand 

Be open to what the data is telling you and be aware of potential biases. Look out for moments to explain the data away like “that was an isolated incident” or “that employee was disgruntled”.  Many times, the truth is staring us in the face, and we just need to be open to the message. 

3. Respond to issues 

You don’t need a corporate-wide initiative to make an impact. You can start making small improvements today by giving leaders and managers the tools they need to address employees’ needs and concerns. Responding to feedback shows employees you value them.  

4. Keep listening, learning, and responding 

You ask, you listen, you respond, and you connect with people to open the lines of communication.  What your employees are experiencing today may very well change in six months or less. Be intentional about your listening strategy so you can adjust and evolve with your people in real time. 

Your Employees Are Worth The Work 

 What we just outlined takes work.  It will take time; it will take effort; and it might even take dollars.  But that investment, when done correctly, is worth it.  Your employees are worth it, and your business will be better for it. 

For additional resources on this topic: 

2020 Engagement Survey Insights Report 

Banking Client Exit Data Case Study 


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