5 Ways to Evaluate Your Exit Interviews in Retail

Retail’s very high turnover rate is no secret, but some companies only now seem to be realizing how much it’s costing them.

Walmart, America’s largest employer, spends an estimated $1 billion annually just replacing the 60 percent of entry-level employees it loses in a year. One might expect the cost to replace entry-level employees to be significantly less than more senior employees, but census data has shown this is simply not the case.

How can companies minimize these costs? The enterprise HR executive has a number of levers to pull to chip away at turnover. One of the most potentially effective is re-evaluating the exit interview process. When adjusting wages is outside of an HR executive’s control, or too risky, a close look at the exit interview can reveal opportunities to improve.

Here are five keys to making sure your exit interviews give you the information you need to take the edge off your retail turnover costs:

Maintaining a standard for interview delivery across an entire retail organization can be exceptionally difficult without outside help. But without a reasonable expectation for consistently administered interviews, there is no point in trying to derive knowledge from whatever data your team actually gets.

Resist special treatment for different segments:
Along the same lines, professionals inside and outside your team may want to use different questioning for different levels within the organization. HSD Metrics has found, time and time again, that level of seniority has little bearing on the way respondents answer questions. A single set of exit interview questions for all employees is easier to administer and easier to analyze – and you can still see how the reasons for leaving vary between senior, junior and even part-time staff.

Emphasize anonymity:
Especially in the retail industry, many part-time employees intend to rejoin the company during the next holiday season. These employees will be as anxious as anyone to avoid burning bridges, so they need to know with absolute certainty that their answers will not be personally identifiable.

Make surveys as short as possible:
Retail ex-employees are among the most difficult to pin down for an exit interview. Separate your must-have information from nice-to-have information, offer multiple interview-taking formats (like phone, web and email) and ensure that each format is optimized for completion.

Let a new set of eyes review your data:
If you’re one of the lucky ones with reliable data, at least consider sharing your information with someone you trust (or someone willing to sign an NDA). It’s amazing what jumps off the page to people who aren’t looking at the same numbers every month, and retail exit interview data is no exception.

If you need help refining your exit interview process, or would rather see the entire process put in the hands of experts, contact the team at HSD Metrics about the ExitRight® service. Our team can take the guesswork and tedium out of your exit interview process so you can focus on the insights that will help you make better HR decisions. We can give you a cost estimate based on the number of exits at your organization each month contact us online or call us at 877-439-9315 to learn more.