Insight Talent management

How to extract value from offboarding and exit interviews

Here on the insights blog, we often talk about how to reduce attrition and keep the right staff for longer. But what about situations where exiting an employee is necessary, or perhaps even beneficial for your business?

Of course, we should always aim to take as many proactive steps as possible to help people perform at their peak and for as long as possible, but when performance declines consistently and it is no longer possible to regain, offboarding may be the best option for all parties involved.

Learn more about the benefits of a swift offboarding decision here.

Then there are scenarios where a particular employee may prove to be “toxic”. You may discover that one person’s negative attitude, cruel behavior or lack of emotional intelligence is bringing down performance across their whole team, or even spreading across the organization. Even if they are your top performer, their draining impact on the wider company culture could far outweigh any short-term financial gains they may generate. VaynerMedia CEO, Gary Vaynerchuk refers to employee toxicity as a “cancer” that must be removed as quickly and thoroughly as possible before spreading through your organization.

“So many are obsessed with short-term performance, “numbers” and quarterly targets. But to build a real long-term business, it takes much higher level thinking. It’s about focusing on overall culture and continuity over short-term financial performance.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia CEO

So when offboarding becomes the best solution to our issue at hand, how can we not only action this process swiftly, but also extract as much value from the process as possible?

Have the right processes ready to go

By having an offboarding workflow set-up and ready to go ahead of time, completing the offboarding process will be made as fast and simple as possible. Not only is the process streamlined to save time but compliance risks can also be minimized.

By triggering an offboarding workflow for an employee in intelliHR, a series of checklists, recruitment business case assessment, manager feedback tasks and employee feedback tasks can be triggered, with all appropriate staff notified and able to complete their required tasks in the system.

Most importantly, by dealing with off-boarding in a professional way it doesn’t have to be a negative process, and by gathering feedback lessons can be learnt.

Capturing 360 degree feedback

Sometimes offboarding is needed, but no one wants to be doing it more often than is necessary. When it does happen, we need to find out why, what went wrong in that case, and whether there are any lessons to be learnt. Being able to analyze this as aggregated data is also very powerful, allowing identification of trends across the organization, or within a particular team… more on this later.

At a minimum, you’ll want to gather feedback from the employee who is leaving and their manager. You could even go a step further and add feedback from peers providing a full 360 degree view!

Getting valuable feedback starts with asking the right questions. Here are some questions you may want to add to your exit feedback survey for employees.

  • Why did you leave?
  • Rate the accuracy of your position as described to you during the recruitment process.
  • Rate the support provided to you in the first four months.
  • Rate your relationship with your manager or supervisor.
  • Rate your career path and opportunity.
  • What did you particularly like/ dislike about working for the company?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend the company to your colleagues?

And some questions you may ask their manager:

  • Did the staff member perform as expected in the role?
  • Rate their understanding of the role to be performed.
  • Rate their productivity/output compared to others in the same position.
  • Rate their quality of work produced.
  • Rate their speed to perform in the role.
  • Rate their fit to company culture.
  • Would you consider this person’s departure regrettable or not regrettable?

By including questions like these as well as free text options allowing people to elaborate on their answers, you can gather quality quantitative and qualitative data and get a better understanding of your attrition reasons allowing you to consider changes and optimize relevant areas of your employee lifecycle and experience.

FREE CALCULATOR: Calculate the costs of onboarding

Learn from aggregated trends

As more and more of this data is gathered over time, not only are you able to reflect on individual feedback contributions, but also analyze feedback holistically to see trends across your organization. With these insights available, you can start to answer questions like:

  • Are there common reasons employees have reported behind them leaving?
  • Are there common reasons managers report staff being moved on for?
  • Do these reasons align?
  • When in their tenure are most people being offboarded – within the first 12 months? After 5 years?

All of these answers can provide valuable survival analytics which we recently introduced to help you understand your attrition overtime – providing you with the ability to identify key points of the employee lifecycle where departure is more likely.

value from offboarding

For example this example would show an organization turning over the majority of their staff in the first 12 months, providing good motivation to focus upon the onboarding processes.

Maintain relationships

Sometimes staff departures are driven by completely non-work factors. Maybe one of your best performers moves onto a completely different opportunity or had to move on due to relocating to a new area with their family.

So look for ways to show these leavers they would be welcome back in the future. There may be opportunities to work together remotely, they could return in the future or they could recommend someone they know to work for you.

Celebrating the contributions of staff that are leaving and showing appreciation from the management team also reinforces a healthy team culture to current staff.

So there you have it, our four key tips to extract value from your offboarding process. Will you be changing anything about yours after reading this?


intelliHR is a people management platform helping HR, leaders and managers enhance performance, culture, engagement and retention. With built-in HRIS and powerful real-time analytics, see how the platform works today.

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