Monday, December 13, 2004

Tracking reasons for joining and leaving

Lots of companies do exit interviews. Sometimes they are done by the managers, often by the HR manager. This takes time and effort. However, rarely is this data used in a meaningful way. What does it really tell you?

Getting to the stage where someone has resigned and then asking ‘why?’ is rarely the best time to use the information productively. Getting someone who that person associates with the problem to conduct the interview is also not a great way of getting them to open up. Finally, what happens to this data? Is it measured? Are trends developed? Are you making decisions on a few, statistically insignificant opinions?

Exit and entry interviews can be one of the most powerful ways of getting information on what is happening in the organization, but it needs to be done correctly. What can we find?

• The reasons that people join you, and why they leave gives you an understanding of the company’s reputation and its reality. Consider asking ‘why have you decided to go to X?’ as well as ‘What were the reasons that made you consider leaving?’ The first will often give you an understanding of what they thought wasn’t right about your firm.

• Who did they go to? Who did they come from? What was it about their offer? Knowing who your competitors are and why they are attracting or losing staff gives you an idea how to compete. So your local competitor is losing staff because their training scheme isn’t well regarded – why not run an advert promoting the strength of your training, you’ll be surprised how many who were thinking of leaving make an effort. You can also track competitors pay schemes this way

• What did they think of your recruitment process? How could you make it better? Who was also competing against you for that person?

The list could go on.

What you do with this information is probably the most important part. You need to capture this in a way that enables you to report on it, and identify trends quickly. This is probably easiest done if you can get it automatically scored, eg by using a scale for each response. From this you can then measure the answers, and as importantly, see how they change over time.

Surveys can be hosted over the internet, the data automatically populating a database. You might want to consider some incentives to encourage people to fill it in, or you might make it a policy decision. The costs of these are usually far smaller than the cost of the traditional interview.

Designing and implementing such a questionnaire takes time and considerable thought, however the information will give you powerful information to strengthen your employment offering and develop your employment brand.