Get the Most Out of Exit Surveys

Let’s face it - whether employees leave voluntarily or not, exit surveys and interviews can be somewhat awkward

September 3, 2021
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Let’s face it - whether employees leave voluntarily or not, exit surveys and interviews can be a somewhat awkward experience for both parties. On the one hand, what is there really to say? Something obviously didn’t work out. Many companies, even those that often have exit surveys and interviews implemented, decide to go through the notions of the employee’s last days and check the answers on a 2 min survey. 

On the other hand, one could say that the employees that are leaving (especially voluntarily) are your most prized possession. After all, they drank the cool-aid, they bought into the mission, values, and goals...and then, something (and likely not just a single thing) didn’t work. Doing an honest deep-dive to understand the experience employees have truly is invaluable information for management and HR. No one will likely be more honest about what works and what doesn’t than the employee leaving. So, don’t shy away from the uncomfortable conversation. Lean into it and get the gold pieces of information you otherwise would never know. Also, keep in mind that high employee turnover affects the company’s bottom line: it costs about 33% of an employee’s annual salary to hire a replacement. 

Encourage complete honesty 

This might seem like a given, but establishing the ground for an honest discussion is critical. It should go beyond the checklist of questions or time allocated - create an environment and ask questions that lead to candid answers. People usually don’t leave because of one thing, so try to dig into different factors and their role in the overall experience. Don’t leave any stone unturned. 

Go back to the beginning

As mentioned before, your exiting employees are wonderful opportunities to learn more about the good and the bad since they started excited, interested, and invested in the company. Take the conversation back to the beginning and find out the deciding factors for them to join, at what point things started to shift, and how it affected them. Seeing the progression in the employee experience can help point out what works and what doesn’t.

Categorize the results 

Get into the habit of quarterly or yearly putting all the exit survey and interview data together and categorize it. Start with significant areas like role, pay and package, reasons for leaving, manager, team, workplace and culture, and the organization. Seeing combined feedback will give a general objective picture of how employees feel about those specific areas. 

Aggregate the feedback

Last but not least - get the feedback in one place. It might seem silly considering each person has their own biases about the company and the experience, but once you put it all together and look back historically, the trends will be clear. Focus on long and short-term goals once you have that information in one place. 

Need help creating a survey that works best for your team? Check out this template. 

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide
Employee recognition guide