Employee Exit Surveys: How To Create Them & 30 Best Questions To Ask

Mariya Postelnyak


Losing a valuable employee is never good news. But it can be a valuable learning opportunity. By conducting an employee exit survey, you can get to the bottom of why employees choose to leave and gain insights to help increase staff retention. 

There are many reasons why employees choose to leave a company. For some, it’s a pull factor: a tempting salary boost or a prestigious new job title. 

For others, it’s a push factor. The departure could’ve been triggered by low employee engagement or a lack of work-life balance at their current job.

Understanding what led to an employee’s decision to leave can help you troubleshoot the root causes and reduce employee turnover. To do this, you have to ask effective employee exit survey questions.  

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What is an Employee Exit Survey?

An employee exit survey is simply a series of questions that you ask departing staff. But it’s vital that your employees receive this survey so that you can gain insight into their experience.

As asynchronous communications, these surveys can take the form of a written questionnaire, verbal interview, or both. Whichever medium you choose, it’s important to have a combination of closed-ended and open-ended survey questions

Single answer questions usually consist of Likert scales or yes / no responses, which provide more clear and quantitative metrics. Meanwhile, open-ended questions offer more detail to explain and support the closed-ended answers.

With ContactMonkey, you can conduct a simple employee exit survey straight from your employee emails

Star rating employee exit survey question.

With multiple types of survey options to choose from – likert scales, yes / no answers, and anonymous comments, to name a few —you can offer both closed-ended and open-ended questions. Not to mention, your employees can answer questions in seconds, making them more likely to do so. 

Why are Exit Interviews and Surveys Important?

It’s normal to feel disappointed or even hurt when a team member announces that they’ll be leaving. But it’s important to put those feelings aside and try to understand the reasons behind the employee’s departure

An employee exit survey is important because it brings to light potential problem areas in your company’s employee experience

By highlighting the root causes of an employee’s decision to leave, employee exit surveys help you drive employee engagement using internal communications

In addition, an employee exit interview survey can give you an opportunity to leave off on a good note with your departing staff. 

Your employees – past and present – are your brand representatives. For better or worse, they’ll be sharing the experience they had at your company with others. 

No matter the circumstances around their resignation, when you take the time to understand the employee’s perspective, they’ll appreciate it. As a result, it may increase the chance that your employee leaves with a positive last impression and speaks about your company accordingly. 

What Topics Should You Address in Your Employee Exit Surveys?

Your employee exit interview should go beyond simply asking “What happened?” Instead, you need to provide structure by targeting a range of topics related to various areas of your digital employee experience

Here are just a few topics that are essential to cover in your employee exit survey. 

  • The key reasons for the departure
  • What they liked and disliked in their role within your organization
  • Whether enough support and resources were available with your company
  • Work-life balance 
  • Company culture
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Management and communication
  • Teamwork and relations with colleagues
  • Training and professional development
  • Compensation and benefits

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30 Best Employee Exit Interview Survey Questions and Templates

Now that we know the key topics to cover, creating your employee exit survey is a matter of asking questions in the right way to give you actionable feedback. Below, we break down a range of employee exit survey examples with questions that touch on each of the essential themes. 

We’ll also showcase some employee survey templates which you can use to serve up inspiration, or easily recreate with ContactMonkey. 

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Employee Experience Overview

This category of employee exit survey questions is designed to capture the key details of why an employee chooses to leave. They should focus on the causes of the decision to move on and potential issues with employee experience. 

Simple and straightforward is the goal when designing these types of questions. Don’t try to beat around the bush. A departing employee will usually be open and honest about the reasoning behind their decision. 

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In return, you’ll understand not only the causes but see potential patterns among outgoing employees. 

  1. What reasons brought you to look for another job?
  2. Is there a specific problem that led to your resignation? If so, can you provide details?
  3. What ultimately led to your decision to leave?
  4. Which aspects of your new position do you believe are not available in your role with this company?
  5. What did you dislike the most about your job with our company / what did you enjoy most about your job?
Employee exit survey question about resignation.

Role-specific questions

If an employee is unable to understand certain aspects of their role, finds their tasks monotonous, or doesn’t see much chance for future mobility, their engagement suffers. This can easily become a reason for sending in their resignation. To avoid low employee satisfaction in specific roles, it’s important to examine how outgoing staff felt about their particular position. Here are some employee exit survey question examples to consider:

  1. Do you feel you were given sufficient training to perform well in your role? If not, how could it have been better? Should we create an employee handbook on a specific topic?
  2. Did you have all the necessary resources to do your job well?
  3. What extra responsibility would you have wanted in your role?
  4. How could you have been helped better to understand working with other departments to perform more effectively?
  5. Were you provided with sufficient professional development opportunities?
Employee newsletter exit survey.

Management questions

57% of employees leave their jobs because they’re dissatisfied with their direct management. This employee engagement statistic is staggering but not surprising if you consider the number of times employees engage with managers daily. 

Very often, it’s management that sets the tone and quality of employee experience. So it’s absolutely essential to troubleshoot issues in this area as soon as possible. 

In particular, employee exit survey questions on this topic should focus on management communications, employee recognition, and performance expectations. 

  1. Overall, how satisfied were you with your management team?
  2. Did your managers handle disagreements in a professional manner?
  3. How frequently did you receive recognition from your manager?
  4. Did you regularly receive constructive performance feedback from your manager?
  5. Were performance expectations clearly communicated by your manager?
Employee satisfaction pulse survey.

Company culture and environment questions

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of company culture on employee experience – as well as an employee’s decision to leave your team. 

Company culture is your company’s bedrock. It determines how employees interact with one another, how comfortable they feel expressing their ideas and concerns, and how valued your staff feel within their teams. 

If your workplace culture is suffering, employee retention will continue to take a hit despite any other changes you try to implement. So make sure to thoroughly touch on this topic with outgoing employees. 

  1. How would you describe the organization’s work culture?
  2. Rate how well you got along with your team members.
  3. Did you get along well with your reporting authority?
  4. Have you ever experienced any discrimination or harassment while working in this organization?
  5. Were there sufficient resources/events to build meaningful relationships with your team?
Email-embedded employee exit pulse survey.

Work-life balance and wellness questions

Employees who choose to leave your company may have once been absolutely thrilled and motivated about being on your team. Until they became burnt out. 

Employee stress and work overload are a leading culprit behind an employee’s decision to quit. To see whether this may be the cause of staff turnover at your company, ask outgoing employees to give a measure of employee engagement at your organization. 

Foremost, zero-in on work-life balance, workload, and resources to support health and wellness. Here are some employee wellness survey questions that you can incorporate into your employee exit interview: 

  1. Did you feel that you were able to balance your personal and family life with your job responsibilities?
  2. Were there additional flexible work arrangements that you wish were available?
  3. Did you feel that the leadership team cared about your well being?
  4. Do you agree that generally, your workload is reasonable for your role?
  5. Did your manager set fair deadlines?
Thumbs up/down employee survey question.

Closing questions

The goal of these questions is to offer a summary of the reasons behind your employee’s departure and their final impression of your company. As such, these questions need to be curt, concise, and to-the-point. 

At the same time, you should give your employees an opportunity to provide direct suggestions on what can be done better at your company, and show that you value their input. Here are some employee exit survey closing question examples:

  1. Would you ever consider working for this company again? If so, what circumstances would motivate you to return?
  2. Can you list a few examples of what we could have done better?
  3. Is there anything else you would like to add?
  4. Rate how likely you are to recommend this company to other
  5. Is there anything that can make the transition to your new role smoother?
Anonymous employee exit survey feedback.

How to Create an Employee Exit Survey

Creating an employee exit survey is simple if you have the right tools and well-thought-out questions. We hope our employee exit survey examples gave you some inspiration. But if you’re building your employee exit survey from scratch,  here are some essential steps to keep in mind:

Plan your timing: ensure that you send out your exit survey during a convenient period during the offboarding process. It’s always better to send your employee exit survey shortly following your employee’s departure notice so that they have plenty of time to complete the survey.

Choose the right method to deliver your exit survey: your survey needs to be delivered in a convenient and accessible way. While a third-party employee exit survey software can offer the basics, the more steps your staff have to take in order to complete a survey, the less likely they’re likely to finish it. 

With a pulse survey tool like ContactMonkey, you can deliver your pulse survey straight from your internal emails—the resource employees already check the most. Not to mention, ContactMonkey’s HRIS integration lets you instantly import and use your existing contact lists.

Pick 10-20 best questions: while this guide has offered a range of questions, it’s important to consider which are most relevant to your company and employees, and ask only those that you think will be useful. Once you know your priorities, keep your pulse survey questions brief, simple, and to-the-point.

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Best Employee Exit Survey Software

There are many options when it comes to choosing a platform to conduct your employee exit survey. Here are just a few of the popular employee exit survey tools available:

  1. ContactMonkey
  2. TinyPulse
  3. Officevibe
  4. Empuls
  5. Lattice
  6. ChartHop
  7. SurveyMonkey
  8. Startquestion
  9. SurveyLab
  10. Qualtrics XM

While all these survey tools are viable options, only ContactMonkey enables you to embed employee exit surveys straight into your internal emails. This lets employees access your survey in fewer steps, which makes it more likely that they’ll end up completing it.

Not to mention, ContactMonkey’s easy and intuitive survey response options, like star ratings and emojis, make the survey process seamless and simple for your staff.

How to Analyze Employee Exit Survey Results With ContactMonkey

Asking effective employee exit survey questions helps you gather actionable insights. These can be applied to an employee exit survey report that helps you make powerful improvements across your organization—like improving communication and informing your employee engagement activities.

Once you gather your survey results, you’ll have to act on them in an effective manner, showing past and present employees that you are committed to change. When you collect employee opinions, you can easily make smart decisions and easily prove the ROI of employee engagement.

With ContactMonkey’s internal communications tool, you get deeper employee analytics with eNPS score, anonymous comments, survey read times, and more. Not to mention, you can access all of your employee survey results in a clear, visually dynamic dashboard. Try out a free demo today!

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