Whether you call it the Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffle, business leaders in every sector have witnessed this trend. Workers may search for better pay, opportunities in a different field, or even an open-ended sabbatical. The reasons for this mass departure vary, although many have pointed to the emotional impact of COVID-19.

The trend has been in the news for some time, but the exodus continues. A 2022 survey of nearly 10,000 workers—conducted by Willis Towers Watson—found that 44% considered themselves “job seekers” searching for new employment. Of those, 33% actively sought jobs in the last quarter of 2021, while 11% intended to look for new work in 2022.

At first glance, this is terrible news for employers hoping to retain talent. And I certainly don’t intend to put lipstick on a pig by claiming a shrinking employee pool is ideal for businesses. However, the strongest organizations I’ve worked with constantly seek unexpected advantages from uncontrollable, seemingly negative, dynamics.

Implementing a thoughtful, third-party exit interview program is one step in extracting key intelligence from departing workers. Whatever their reasons for leaving, employees are a rich source of information. What’s more, I have found through my own exit interview service that they are eager to share their stories.

Strong exit interviews can reveal missed opportunities specific to your organization, from poor communication to a weak link in management to a workflow issue. Yet the universality of the Great Resignation also shows that departures are not strictly based on problems at a particular business; well-executed exit interviews can reveal incentives for workers in your broader field, the enticements that best attract and retain top talent.

Some may suggest that these mass departures will ease as inflation or other economic factors take their toll and tip the balance back in favor of employers. No organization, however, should depend on the whims of a global economy. It is the responsibility of leaders to get ahead of any economic change by finding and keeping the best employees as soon as possible.

At TGC, we regularly collaborate with employers and customize exit interviews to meet the needs of our clients. Rather than trotting through a rote sheet of short-answer questions, our interviewers have genuine conversations with departing employees. We know that the person resigning has a valuable story to tell. Taking the time to encourage and hear this story offers valuable information to the recruitment efforts of your organization.

Interviewees are more likely to share honest feedback with third parties unconnected to their former company. They’ll also more readily open up to a skilled interviewer who listens and responds in a way that demonstrates understanding. Afterward, we collate and interpret the data in a way that preserves those meaningful stories, illustrating themes that can improve the hiring process and work environment.

There is no denying that the Great Resignation impacted employee retention. But tailored, comprehensive exit interviews can bolster your organization’s resilience going forward. Contact TGC today to learn more about how our exit interviews can add value to your business.

Photo credit: Olivier Le Moal