Benefits and Compensation

Further Results of the 2014 Termination and Exit Interviews Survey—What Are the Best Practices?

In yesterday’s Advisor, we announced findings from BLR’s Termination and Exit Interviews Survey. Today, more results from our study, including information regarding best practices and what’s happening with severance pay.

A total of 1,892 individuals participated in this survey, conducted in December 2014.

Best practices

When asked which exit interview practices are most important, the responses varied widely but several themes emerged, including:

  • Conducting interviews in person, either on the phone or face-to-face, 17.8%
  • Having consistency in the process and in the questions asked, 16.2%
  • Following through by addressing issues brought to light during exit interviews, 14.5%
  • Getting honest feedback and finding out how the organization can improve, 16.03%

Reviewing exit interview information with key stakeholders is a priority for 3.6%, and keeping exit interview information confidential or distributing it only on a need-to-know basis is important for 6%. Finding out an employee chose to leave the company is important for 4.5%, and conducting the interviews in a timely manner is important for 3.1%. Identifying trends and/or issues that should be corrected is a valued practice for 3.3%, and ensuring the exit interview is a conversation rather than just a question/answer session is important for 3.7%.

Program needs

As for what our survey participants’ exit interview programs lack, for 2.3% it is an online system for departing employees to provide information and any kind of program at all for 1.8%. For 5.8%, it’s better, more relevant questions, and confidentiality is a concern for 1.7%. Nothing is missing, however, for 5.8%. Below are the top five “missing ingredients” that keep survey participants from managing a more effective exit interview program:

  • Creation of and/or follow-through with an action plan regarding the information obtained during exit interviews: 25.3%
  • A process for aggregating exit interview data, generating reports, and tracking/measuring follow-up: 23.3%
  • Consistency in application of the exit interview process: 16.4%
  • Participation of and/or honest information from departing employees: 14.7%
  • Buy-in from all stakeholders, particularly management team members: 12.3%

It’s the brave new world of HR. Start your strategic thinking with BLR’s new practical guide: HR Playbook: HR’s Game Plan for the Future.


Severance pay is offered to departing employees for 32.8%. Of those, 52.5% offer it when there is an involuntary termination, and 71.8% offer it when there is a RIF (reduction in force). The amount of severance pay is determined by length of service for 81.4%, with position level as a factor for 48%. Departing employees are required to sign a release form to obtain severance pay for 74.8% and only under certain circumstances for 13.4%.

Survey participants

A total of 1,892 individuals participated in this survey, which was conducted in December 2014. Of those who identified themselves, 55.1% represent private, for-profit companies, 22.1% are with nonprofit organizations, 11.1% are with public entities, and 11.8% work for government organizations.

The majority (53.4%) of our survey respondents provide HR services to a workforce of 1 to 250 employees. Another 13.6% provide guidance to 251 to 500 employees at their organizations and 10.6% have a workforce of 501 to 1,000 employees. Companies with more than 1,000 employees account for 22.4% of survey participants.

A little below 25% of survey respondents (23.5%) have a workforce that is more than half exempt employees. As for union representation, 7.5% of the employers surveyed have a workforce that is 50 to 100% unionized and 88.4% have a workforce where less than one-fourth are union employees.

Over half (56%) of the participants are in service industries; 15% are in agriculture, forestry, construction, manufacturing, or mining; 8% are in wholesale, retail, transportation, or warehousing; and 2% are in real estate or utilities. The remaining 19% indicated “other.”

Thanks again to all who participated!

Termination (both voluntary and involuntary), recruiting, and retention are all going to be challenges in 2015. Are you planning for these challenges—and all the others as well? From compensation plans to engagement to development, the brave new world of HR is here. Are you prepared for changes that are unparalleled in scope and impact?

  • Employees all over the world, many of whom you’ve never met in person
  • Technological advances and big data
  • Talent management challenges like Millennials managing Baby Boomers you once thought would have retired years ago
  • Big data on everything from hiring strategies to retention predictions
  • Sweeping regulatory changes in the areas of health care, immigration, and privacy that have necessitated massive changes in the way you do business
  • And the new normal—doing more … with less

HR 2015? Time to start planning with BLR’s new HR Playbook. Find out more or order here—HR Playbook: HR’s Game Plan for the Future.

It’s a lot to keep track of—and it’s not going to get easier. To help you get your head around big-picture strategy for 2015 and beyond, HR’s Game Plan for the Future provides a detailed rundown of trends, case studies, and best practices in the following areas:

  • Recruiting and Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Social Media and Technology
  • Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)
  • Flexibility and Work/Life Balance
  • Outsourcing
  • Diversity
  • Talent Management
  • Employee Engagement and Retention
  • Succession Planning
  • Telecommuting

Find out more or order here—HR’s Game Plan for the Future.

1 thought on “Further Results of the 2014 Termination and Exit Interviews Survey—What Are the Best Practices?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.