Navigating Employee Exit Surveys: The Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful Farewell

Employee exit surveys are a powerful tool for organizations to gather feedback, insights, and reflections from departing employees. These surveys offer a unique opportunity to learn about the employee experience and make improvements, ultimately contributing to higher retention rates and a healthier workplace culture. However, to extract the maximum benefit from exit surveys, it’s essential to follow best practices and avoid common pitfalls. In this blog post, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of running an employee exit survey to ensure a successful and productive farewell process.

The Significance of Employee Exit Surveys:

Exit surveys provide organizations with several key advantages:

  1. Feedback Collection: Exit interview questions offer a structured platform for employees to express their thoughts, opinions, and feedback about their experiences within the organization.
  2. Issue Identification: They can uncover specific areas of concern, such as management issues, company culture challenges, or workplace-related difficulties that may have contributed to an employee’s decision to leave.
  3. Retention Improvement: Addressing issues raised in exit surveys can help organizations take proactive steps to prevent future turnover and enhance employee retention.
  4. Cultural Refinement: Exit surveys provide insights into an organization’s culture, allowing for a deeper understanding of its values and practices and aligning them with employee expectations.
  5. Performance Benchmarking: Analyzing data from exit surveys over time enables organizations to track trends, make informed decisions, and work toward continuous improvement.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Exit Surveys:

The Do’s:

1. Do Keep it Anonymous:

Do: Ensure that the exit survey is conducted anonymously. This encourages departing employees to be more candid and honest in their responses. Anonymity reduces the fear of repercussions, allowing for more open feedback.

2. Do Ask Relevant and Open-Ended Questions:

Do: Craft survey questions that are relevant to the departing employee’s experience and the organization’s goals. Include a mix of open-ended questions to allow employees to provide detailed insights, in addition to closed-ended questions for quantitative data.

3. Do Communicate the Purpose Clearly:

Do: Clearly communicate the purpose of the exit survey to departing employees. Explain that their feedback is valuable for the organization’s growth and improvement. Transparency encourages participation.

4. Do Use an Efficient Platform:

Do: Employ a user-friendly and efficient survey platform. Choose software that makes it easy for departing employees to complete the survey, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free process.

5. Do Analyze Data for Trends:

Do: Collect and analyze exit survey data over time to identify trends and patterns. Look for recurring themes and issues to make informed decisions for improvement.

6. Do Follow Up with Action Plans:

Do: Develop action plans based on the feedback received in exit surveys. Share these plans with the departing employee, if appropriate, and demonstrate a commitment to addressing issues and making positive changes.

7. Do Keep the Door Open for Feedback:

Do: Maintain open lines of communication with departing employees, even after they have left the organization. Let them know that their feedback is important, and keep them informed about any changes or improvements resulting from their input.

8. Do Use Exit Surveys for Benchmarks:

Do: Consider using exit surveys as benchmarks for performance and improvement. Over time, track your organization’s performance in addressing employee feedback and making positive changes.

The Don’ts:

1. Don’t Make the Survey Too Lengthy:

Don’t: Avoid making the exit survey overly long. A lengthy survey can be daunting for departing employees and may lead to incomplete or rushed responses. Keep it concise and focused.

2. Don’t Assume Employee Preferences:

Don’t: Avoid making assumptions about the preferences and experiences of departing employees. Let them express their thoughts freely rather than steering their responses.

3. Don’t Neglect Confidentiality:

Don’t: Never breach the confidentiality of exit surveys. Assure departing employees that their feedback will remain anonymous and will not lead to any negative consequences.

4. Don’t Delay the Survey Process:

Don’t: Avoid delaying the survey process. Conduct the exit survey as close to the employee’s departure as possible while their experiences are still fresh in their minds.

5. Don’t Overlook the Analysis Phase:

Don’t: Collecting data is not the end of the process. Don’t neglect the analysis phase. Take the time to carefully review and understand the feedback to identify trends and insights.

6. Don’t Assume One Size Fits All:

Don’t: Avoid assuming that a single exit survey template will fit all situations. Tailor questions to the employee’s role, department, and the organization’s goals for more relevant feedback.

7. Don’t Use Exit Surveys for Blame:

Don’t: Exit surveys are not a tool for blaming individuals or teams. Instead, focus on understanding the departing employee’s perspective and identifying areas for improvement.

8. Don’t Ignore Exit Survey Results:

Don’t: Once you have collected exit survey data, don’t ignore the results. Take the feedback seriously and use it to drive positive changes within the organization. Ignoring the results can lead to continued turnover and workplace issues.


Employee exit surveys are invaluable tools for organizations to gain insights, gather feedback, and make improvements. By adhering to the do’s and avoiding the don’ts of running exit surveys, organizations can ensure that the process is smooth, productive, and respectful of departing employees. A well-conducted exit survey process not only helps in understanding and addressing the reasons for employee turnover but also contributes to building a more positive and supportive workplace culture. Ultimately, the success of exit surveys lies in their ability to foster open communication, promote growth, and create a better working environment for current and future employees.

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