It’s been a 7-year journey and when we set out explaining to our clients why they should outsource their exit interviews, we were met with quite a bit of resistance.
The most common objection was that its core HR. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I believe that core HR is mainly about using the information gathered by the third party, to engage with employees better. Sitting in front of the computer collating feedback, building reports etc. is an absolute waster of precious HR time.
The other problem is that the process of conducting in-house exits is flawed. Employees once they have decided to quit want to their exit to be smooth as possible. No giving feedback (what’s the point anyway), no burning bridges (don’t know when it will come back to bite them) and who knows they may want to come back in case the company they are about to join doesn’t live up to their expectations. So why blow that opportunity.
Reason for leaving vs. Outcome of Leaving
For these reasons when an employee is asked for the reason for leaving, he states the outcome. There is a huge difference between the two. Outcome is what is about to happen post the employee’s exit, reasons is why is he leaving. No amount of retention programs, sig sigma projects or interventions will yield results if the attrition data being used is the Outcome of leaving and not the reason for leaving.
In a third party discussion with an expert the situation is however different. There is not fear of retribution and the fear of burning bridges doesn’t exist since there is a confidentiality clause. Also for the third party it is core competency and they will dedicate the required amount of time and attention to ensure that the exit interview is meaningful and given due importance. They are not handling multiple tasks and there is no question of prioritising what they do. This helps in ensuring a high quality output and employees also feel respected as they are getting the deserved amount of respect and attention.
We have clients who we engage with on a continuous basis and there are others with whom we conduct one-time engagements using historic data. While both have their merits, we have seen that a lot of clients nowadays are choosing to avail our services on a monthly basis. The advantages of a continuous engagement are immense:
- Clarity of why employees leave
Organisations will have a clear understanding of why employees are leaving. I can state with a lot of confidence that there will be close to a 70% variance between what they tell us vs. what they tell you.
- Continuous availability of data
Since we become the central repository of data, at any point in time you could seek any kind of report. This is particularly useful when you are driving specific employee engagement initiatives.
- Increase HR bandwidth to spend with employees
HR partners can engage with employees and drive strategic actions based on the insightful feedback that we provide. The value is significant.
We recently built an info graphic on Why Women employees leave? It makes interesting reading and I will be happy to have your views and feedback.