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What Could We Do To Keep You?

Posted by Insightlink on 06/24/15

Staff Resignations Hurt

hate my job

Retention is a critical issue and a top priority for HR and their organizations because losing good talent hurts in so many ways. But how do you know what you are doing wrong or why they left, unless you ask? That is the sole purpose of an Exit Interview; to give you the insight you need to prevent good employees from leaving.

Why bother?

The cost of loss is enormous. It has been well documented that it costs 70 to 400% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. Those hard costs include the cost to recruit a replacement, referral fees, candidate’s interview expenses, such as airlines, hotels, meals or cabs. Perhaps there will be a larger salary to pay, a sign-on bonus or a moving allowance. Then there are the soft costs, which reflect what it really cost you to lose that employee. (Here's a Quora discussion on the topic with a few useful links.)

Think about these 7 soft costs and how they affect your organization:

  • Time spent and lost in interviewing. What could you have been doing instead?
  • Productivity plummets during a job search- You start losing money the moment your talented employees disengage; instead of working for you they are updating their resumes.
  • When someone leaves the work doesn’t. -  Work doesn’t go away just because the person doing it leaves. The result can be burnout and lower morale for all those who’ve stayed
  • When one goes, others follow.- Talented people move on and then they call their friends, often encouraging them to follow. This happens more often today with younger workers who highly value flexibility and friendship
  • They’ll take their brilliance and (perhaps) your customers with them.- Loyal customers will follow people they like. The cost of that loss can be huge.
  • Training a new person takes time before they can contribute. Meanwhile the team carries the load…at what cost. 
  •  New hires don’t always measure up.
  •  Replacing a great employee is a risk and if the new hire isn’t as wonderful as the one you lost, what does that cost?

A simple and effective tool to help you keep your existing employees is an Exit Interview. Not all employers take advantage of exit interviews, which is a missed opportunity because this could be your best opportunity to receive a raw, honest response from employees before their departure.

Use this opportunity to ask why they are leaving. In some cases there is nothing you could have done to prevent them from going (spouse was transferred, staying home to care for sick parent etc.) Often people leave for preventable reasons and this is what you really want to know. If your exiting employees could tell you why they found your competition more appealing or why they disliked working for you, then you could prevent the departure of further employees.

Make it clear that you’re there to listen to their experiences, feelings and judgments. Reassure employees that their feedback will not result in any negative consequences. Remember that they’re doing you a favor by giving you advice.

We encourage you to find out why they are leaving. Your return on investment will be an increased understanding of those on your team. And what might that lead to? Increased commitment, productivity, innovation, and success for you, your team and your organization.

For more information about Exit interviews and to learn about our easy-to-use Exit system, contact us at or go to our website at

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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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