4 Areas That Improve Employee Retention
Written By Tyler Jones

Too often, when a long-term employee hands in his resignation, management will tell him to clean his desk or pack up his tools and leave. Particularly in the construction industry, which faces a labor shortage, losing an employee isn’t easy.

Taking a new tack in the exit of an employee reaps significant benefits that will help you minimize frequency of it occurring. Conducting an exit interview–a frank discussion with the soon-to-be-former employee–will provide valuable insight into the individual’s decision as well as how the people who worked around him are operating as a team.

Exit interviews are not fun, especially if you’re a stakeholder in the business. You can hear some unpleasant even disturbing things, but it’s better that you learn about them so that you’re given the opportunity to correct them. When conducting an exit interview, remember that the outgoing employee is providing his personal perspective, which may be tinged by personal grudges or problems. Bias notwithstanding, the insights that arise in exit interviews can reinforce your views on previous decisions, make you reevaluate how you run your operation, or something in between.

Whether your company conducts exit interviews formally with a member of the HR staff or informally a chat between a manager or owner before the employee departs is important.

Four areas should be addressed to investigate why the employee is leaving:

  1. Wages
    To find out how your wage scale compares to other companies, who better to ask than someone fresh from making job inquiries at other companies? You know their skills; you can ask if a higher compensation is at play. It will give you an idea of how much you’ll need to spend to replace him–and to keep his peers on your payroll.
  2. Workload
    Was the workload overwhelming? Did she need help? Ask if the employee felt that the workload was manageable and permitted them to do their best work. If she’s leaving because she feels overworked, it’s likely her coworkers feel the same way, and you now know you have an issue to address.
  3. Culture
    This is a very tricky subject to broach, but it’s an important one. In some cases, workers leave jobs because they are being ridiculed, bullied or harassed at work. Your exiting employee may have experienced something along those lines and is reluctant to discuss it with a manager or executive out of fear or embarrassment. In cases where you believe this is the case, it may be best to discuss the issue with a HR professional.
  4. Growth
    Frequently, an employee will move to another company because he is getting a promotion or an opportunity to grow his career that was not available with your company. No one should begrudge someone a chance to flourish, but again, if he thinks there are no open doors at your company, his co-workers with the same skills and experience will likely believe it also.

End an exit interview with an open-ended question like, “What else do you want to tell me?” or “What else do you think I should know?” There could be something an employee is experiencing that you don’t know about, his next employer has a new piece of equipment he’s excited about using or he’ll get the chance to travel with the new job. Keep an open mind, don’t get defensive, and listen.

What you’ll learn will guide you on your next steps to improve your employees’ experience. And because you were so concerned about your (future former) employee’s views, you may have helped gain a new client or partner in the future. Build a productive, happy workforce. Learn more from an expert.

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