Exit Interview: Why are Your Accounting and Finance Employees Leaving?

In the accounting and finance professions, where long hours, competitive atmospheres and arduous paperwork is the norm, turnover is to be expected. The average turnover rate in the accounting/finance profession is 20%. Exit interviews are one of the best ways to get true and honest feedback from employees. The downside is that it takes time to build up a significant amount of data from exit interviews, and if you’re not asking the right questions, gauging the rate of turnover may become more complicated to figure out. Increasing your participation rate, however, can help you get greater amounts of actionable information faster from your exit interviews. 

There are some simple questions that should be asked when looking at your exit interview process. 

What system do you use for exit interviews?

Does your company conduct a paper and pencil question survey? Or do you conduct interviews face to face? Each has its logistical pros and cons. If you are using an exit interview survey with rated questions, 35-60 questions is about the right survey length. More than 60 questions and the employee might start to feel uncomfortable answering such a lengthy survey. 70 or more questions on the survey and you should prepare for higher numbers of uncompleted exit interviews. If you’re conducting face-to-face exit interviews, allow for an atmosphere that shows the employee what they say is confidential and that they can be completely honest in why they are leaving.  Be prepared for honest feedback. Be clear with employees that honest feedback will not result in repercussions. Statements made on an exit interview should never be used to prevent future eligibility for rehire or for good recommendations in the future. 

Why employees are not completing their exit interviews?

Some of the reasons that employees choose not to complete exit interviews are: 

  • The exit interview is too long.
  • The employee doesn’t believe that the exit interview will be read or make a difference.
  • The employee is afraid of repercussions.
  • The exit interview questions are confusing or personally invasive.

Review your exit interview questions for simplicity. Put yourself in the employee’s shoes and ask yourself how you would feel answering the questions. Avoid a lot of exit interview questions that ask for feelings and emotions. It’s a lot easier for an employee to rate the effectiveness of a process rather than how they feel about the process.

How are you getting back to employees?  
Employees will not complete their exit interviews if they believe that the feedback they provide will not be read or will be promptly ignored. It is important to let employees know that you value their feedback. When you do make improvements based on suggestions from exit interviews, don’t be afraid to tell employees where the idea came from. Over time, employees will learn that you do listen.

By increasing the number of terminating employees who participate in the exit interview process, you’ll increase the value of them. Review and improve both the content and structure of the exit interview and you can deliver a substantial increase in your participation rates. For more information about exit interviews and how Pridestaff Financial can help, contact us today.