Xref co-founder and CEO Lee-Marin Seymour walks Stockhead’s Christian Edwards through the yawning data chasm global business is missing when it comes to the staff turnover in the Age of the Great Resignation.

Staff – the good, the bad and the perplexing – leave companies every single day.

In fact, employees giving notice for the good, the bad or the Bahamas is simply a part of everyday life in a commercial world.

And in these trying times of low retention, lower unemployment and what they’re terming The Great Resignation, turning a blind eye to asking “why?” is a mug’s game.

Losing people is tough, but it’s also a fabulously actionable source of critical data according to Aussie-listed global HR tech platform Xref (ASX:XF1) – and unfortunately one that very, very few businesses are aware of, and even fewer bother harnessing.

Speaking to Stockhead, Lee-Marin Seymour – co-founder and CEO of Aussie-listed HR-tech firm Xref – says even the brightest firms with the smartest HR teams are bleeding valuable insights which otherwise could be gained when employees do take the leap and exit stage organisation.

“As a result of this often-neglected area, businesses aren’t reaping the benefits of an effectively managed departure process.

“Successful organisations don’t simply focus on the acquisition of new employees or the maintenance of existing ones. In today’s environment, the HR function covers the full spectrum of the employee lifecycle: from joining a company, working at the company, leaving the company, and maybe one day returning,” Seymour says.

Lee says allowing quality talent to grow further elsewhere – and then return – can bring the 360 of benefits.

“Sometimes, there is a ceiling for good talent within your organisation and they may be forced to look elsewhere for their next growth opportunity.

“An exit interview allows you to understand these reasons, and realise there may be a place for this person in your organisation in the future. Don’t let the memory of outgoing talent fade away. Tech solutions allow you to build a corporate memory bank of the degree of talent that leaves you.

“Measure exit sentiment, the reason for leaving and assess their key skills. Track them over time and target them for rehire in the years to come.” 

‍Lee answers a few of the big exit questions: 

So, what are Exit Interviews and why should we bother?

An exit interview is a meeting, discussion, or survey that an employee is asked to take part in when they’re about to leave a workplace, to share information about their experiences there.

Exit interviews aim to assist businesses to find out why an employee is leaving and learn about that individual’s time at the company. Exit surveys are also a chance for businesses to source feedback on different areas such as culture, management, structure, morale, and workload.

Frequently, exit interviews are organised by the human resources department but surveys may also be conducted through third-party companies.

Technology can also be utilised in-house and become your one source of data-driven people management.

Alrighty. What are Exit Surveys then?

Exit Surveys are surveys sent to departing employees which collect, analyse and measure feedback.

They can help organisations understand organisational performance, how they compare to competitors and also create a ready talent pool, which will reduce recruitment costs and hiring time.

The latter is especially important in this talent and staffing crunch. You can read more about them here.

Why are they important?

Exit surveys help organisations collect consistent data, which can be then used to improve organisational performance. With exit surveys, your organisation can:

  • Identify what drives attrition and uncover trends. You get data on how your departing employees feel about the organisation’s performance. This will be aggregated into actionable, data-driven insights your organisation can use to increase employee retention.
  • Get detailed reports. The surveys go to a line manager, with detailed reports offering feedback and reasons for leaving.
  • Create a talent pool. Departing employees who opt-in to be rehired will be automatically added to a talent pool, which will reduce recruitment costs and time.
  • Net Promoter Score. Multiple Exit Surveys will reveal what your organisation’s Net Promoter Score ( NPS) is and how you compare with your competitor. This can be used to create a strong employer brand and attract top talent to your organisation.

How do they work and what’s in it for us? 

  • Exit Surveys can be created via Xref on mobile or desktop. You can create the survey using a template of best practice questions, or compile your own customised questionnaire.
  • You can then:
    • Send surveys in bulk via either email or SMS. Recipients can answer in their own time on any device.
    • Receive feedback, which will be automatically sent to a line manager for verification and further insights.
    • Review results. Once the results are in, they are analysed and presented in easy-to-understand graphs. This makes it easy to compare and contrast results for a clear understanding of organisation performance and action-orientated insights.

The power of referrals

Severing ties without taking a moment undermines all kinds of future opportunities.  For example, the recommendation of an ex-employee on their old place of work is a highly valuable tool in a constricted jobs market according to talent strategist and company culture expert, Steve Cadigan.

“If the departure is a positive experience, your exiting star will be more inclined to help you, returning one day or referring other people to you. It’s crucial to embrace the many potential positive outcomes from a star leaving over your perception of loss.

“Maybe the person leaving can continue to provide value to you and your firm long after they depart, and they might perhaps even return one day.

“They can also serve as strategic advisers and referral engines for more exceptional talent to come your way.”

Don’t try total recall. Get some software

Given the myriad of benefits of an effectively executed exit interview, it’s imperative that the data is not lost and is managed successfully.

It’s a sentiment shared by US academic Arnold B. Silverman, whose essay on the importance of exit interviews is a touchstone for researchers and industry practitioners alike.

“Human memories have their limitations,” Silverman wrote. “This can be compounded over a period of time by turnover among employees responsible for administering employee records and by document retention policies of employers.”

Therefore, it is essential that organisations utilise enhanced digital technology such as Xref to effectively counter the problems that arise from manually sourced data and insights.

An online survey platform provides businesses with a more complete corporate memory bank of your employees – both past and present.

So you can make sure you’re getting what you need, when you’re losing what you want.

This article was developed in collaboration with Xref, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

 This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.