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Frequently asked questions about Xref Exit Surveys

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When an employee leaves an organisation, it’s important to know the reasons for their departure. Did they find a more senior position elsewhere? Did they find an opportunity to reskill or upskill? Have they decided to take a break from work to travel? 

Discovering why employees leave a job can allow organisations to make positive changes to the workplace to prevent further talent attrition.

Exit surveys are the perfect means of uncovering why employees leave positions.

The following are the most frequently asked questions our customers have about Xref Exit Surveys. 

What are exit surveys?

An exit survey is a questionnaire sent to departing employees when they leave an organisation.  Exit surveys are used to gather feedback from the exiting employee about their experiences working within the organisation. It is helpful to use these surveys in conjunction with a thorough offboarding procedure

Is there another name for an exit survey?

Exit surveys are sometimes referred to as exit questionnaires or exit interviews.   

Why are exit surveys used?

Exit surveys are used to gain insights into reasons for employee attrition and an exiting employee's opinion of the organisation. 

The questions in an exit survey focus on the employee's job satisfaction, reasons for leaving the organisation, perceptions of company culture and management, and suggestions for improvement. The responses to these questions allow organisations to identify key reasons staff are leaving so they can take action to reduce attrition and increase employee retention. 

What is the difference between exit interviews and exit surveys?

An exit interview is essentially a conversation between HR staff and an exiting employee intended to deliver insight into the reasons an employee has decided to leave an organisation. Exit interviews are sometimes also referred to as exit counselling or retention counselling.  

Exit interviews can be conducted in many different ways, such as in-person meetings, phone calls or even via email. The main drawback of exit interviews is that the information received isn’t easily analysed.

Even if all exit interviews use the same questions for each exiting employee, the data can’t be easily compared to that of other employees who have already left. Gaining actionable insights from manual exit interviews will likely take much time and effort.

Exit interviews may be prone to bias. Interviewers may unconsciously prompt responses from candidates with their questions. Exiting employees may also be uncomfortable answering questions about their reasons for leaving, especially if they include issues with other staff members.

Exit surveys are a formalised form of exit interview. Rather than a conversation, the exit takes the form of a survey or questionnaire sent to the exiting employee. The surveys are typically standardised for an organisation, meaning that all data can be collated and analysed easily.

Xref Exit Surveys automatically collate the data collected from exiting employees for display in the Insights tab. Insights displayed include an employee Net Promoter Score and metrics showing how different aspects of the organisation are viewed.  

As surveys are completed independently, the risk of unconscious bias or the employee being uncomfortable answering questions is minimised. 

What are the benefits of exit surveys?

The key benefit of exit surveys over exit interviews is that surveys can be considered an easily templated process. Once a survey for exiting employees has been created, it can be used for all future employees that leave the business.

Using the same survey across all exits ensures that the data collected is consistent, making it much easier to analyse and gain insight from the responses.

What additional benefits do Xref Exit Surveys provide?

In addition to general information about employee experience and reason for leaving, Xref Exit surveys allow departing employees to opt-in to being contacted with possible future positions, creating a talent pool of people happy to return for the right opportunity. 

Xref Exit Surveys also ask exiting employees to give the organisation an employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). This score shows how satisfied employees are with their experience in an organisation. This score can be used as a benchmark for positive organisational change or as a selling point to attract the best talent.

a display of employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

What is an employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)?

An employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) measures how an employee feels about their organisation in terms of engagement, loyalty, management and overall satisfaction. At its core, eNPS shows the difference between the number of employees who are promoters of the organisation and the number that are detractors.

Responses to eNPS are typically classified in the following manner:

  • A score of 0-6 = Detractor
  • A score of 7-8 = Passive
  • A score of 9-10 = Promoter 

Employees score eNPS out of 10 based on the likelihood of them recommending working for the organisation. The actual eNPS result is displayed as a percentage based on the number of Promoters minus the number of Detractors.

Simply put eNPS = % Promoters - % Detractors

Passive scores are not taken into account when calculating eNPS.

For example, if 40% eNPS scores are Promoters, 50% are Passive and the remaining 10% are Detractors, eNPS = 30 (40% Promoters - 10% Detractors).

An eNPS score between 10 and 20 is considered good, and a score above 30 is considered excellent. An eNPS score above 80 places the organisation in the top percentile of employers.

An employee Net Promoter Score can be used as a recruiting tool to show that an organisation is a great workplace..   

How do Xref Exit Surveys work?

Organisations can send Xref Exit Surveys to departing employees or use them retrospectively for employees that have previously left. The Enterprise platform allows up to 5000 Xref Exit Surveys to be sent simultaneously. 

The exiting employee is first asked if they wish to complete the Xref Exit Survey. If they decline to complete the survey, the exiting employee is taken to a page asking them to score the company out of 10 (eNPS score). Leaving an eNPS score is not compulsory for people who decline to complete the survey.

If they agree, the exiting employee is taken to the survey and asked a number of questions regarding their position, the reason for leaving and their opinion on different aspects of the organisation. The exiting employee is also requested to provide an eNPS score and can opt-in to a talent pool for future positions within the organisation 

What is included in an Xref Exit Survey?

Xref Exit Surveys comprise five sections, four of which must be completed to progress the survey and a final section that is optional.

Section 1: Data collection statement - Before any questions are asked, the exiting employee is presented with a data collection statement. This statement must be agree to before the survey can progress. If the exiting employee doesn’t agree to the data collection statement, they are taken to the page requesting an eNPS score.

Section 2: Employment history - After agreeing to the data collection statement, the exiting employee is asked to fill out their employment history with the organisation, including job title, department and start date.

Section 3: Survey - Once employment history is entered, the exiting employee is presented with the first survey question. All survey questions use the Likert scale for scoring, making the process quick for exiting employees and easy to analyse for HR staff.

Section 4: Reason for leaving, eNPS, and additional comments - Once all of the survey questions have been answered, the exiting employee is then asked to choose their reason for leaving from a drop-down list, leave an eNPS score, and make any additional comments they may wish to. This is the only free text entry part of the survey.

Section 5: Future opportunities - Once an eNPS score and reason for leaving have been left, the exiting employee can opt-in to being notified of future roles. In this section, they are asked to input their preferred positions, the industry they are interested in, location and contact details. Once those have been entered, the respondent is asked to rate their five core competencies from a list and enter their top five role-specific skills. 

The role-specific skills are entered into a free entry field. The respondent can enter any skills they wish to and then score themselves out of five. A sales representative, for example, may nominate prospecting, cold calling, upselling, time management and product knowledge as their top five role-specific skills. 

Once all of the details are entered, the details of the exiting employee are then added to a talent pool that may be used to fill future vacancies.

What is the Likert scale, and why is it used in Xref Exit Surveys?

The questions in Xref Exit Surveys are scored using a five-point Likert scale. 

The Likert scale is a psychometric scale used to represent people's opinions or attitudes. Xref Exit Surveys consist of a series of statements to which respondents are asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement. 

The five-point Likert scale uses the following hierarchy:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neutral (Neither agree nor disagree)
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree

Using direct statements, such as “My relationship with my manager was good”, and using the scale for scoring allows the Likert scale to deliver precise responses.

The Likert scale is used for the Xref Exit Survey as it is easy for respondents to answer, and the collected data is easy to analyse to find patterns or pain points.

An example of ata displayed in the Xref Insights tab

What information does an Xref Exit Survey analyse, and how is it displayed?

When the survey has been completed, the results are aggregated and added to the Insights tab of the Xref Enterprise platform. This tab collates all the data collected by Xref Exit Surveys to create an easy-to-understand visualisation of results separated into four sections.

Section 1: eNPS score - The first thing shown on the Insights tab is the eNPS of the organisation and how it may have fluctuated over time due to the responses from exiting employees. The eNPS graphic also displays a breakdown of detractors, passive respondents and promoters in both percentages and a graph showing the score from zero to 10 along with the number of respondents who have given that score.

Section 2: Overall performance - The second section shows an overall organisation score based on the responses to performance metric questions in the Xref Exit Survey. Much like the eNPS score, the overall performance features a graph detailing how the score has fluctuated over time. 

Below the overall score and graph, the average scores for each performance metric question are displayed. 

The performance metrics are based on the category or questions in the survey. All HR-approved questions in Xref Exit Surveys are assigned to categories such as recognition, health and wellbeing, leadership and workplace culture. 

The final score for a category is based on responses to all the questions in a survey that are in the same category.  

Section 3: Participation rate - The third section of the Insights tab displays the participation rate for Xref Exit Surveys in percentages and a graph. In addition to the number of exiting employees that have chosen to complete their exit survey and leave feedback, the section also shows the percentage of respondents that have opted to join the talent pool. 

Section 4: Reason for leaving - The final section aggregates why respondents chose to leave the organisation. All possible responses are shown along with the percentage of respondents that chose that reason.

Do I have to create my own exit surveys?

Exit survey products typically allow organisations to create their own exit surveys or customise one from an existing template.

Users can create Xref Exit Surveys quickly by choosing from pre-defined templates or customising their own by selecting from a pool of HR best practice questions. 

Should I create multiple exit surveys?

Organisations can create multiple exit surveys for use in different departments, affiliate offices or teams, but consistency should be across all exits for the best results. Using the same survey for all exits allows the collected data to be easily analysed.

If you do utilise multiple exit surveys, it’s best to use a base template for all, with separate questions for different departments or roles, allowing for analysis of base data as well as collection and analysis of specialist data.

How long should an exit survey be?

Employee exit surveys should ideally be kept short enough that they don’t feel like a chore. 

How many questions can be included in Xref Exit Surveys?

Xref Exit Surveys can contain a maximum of 15 questions. 

When the development of Xref Exit Surveys first started, the number of questions that could be asked was limited to seven, with two of those having the option of being free entry questions. Our customers gave us feedback that they wanted more questions in their Xref Exit Surveys, and we listened. We increased the question limit to 15 questions, all of which use the Likert scale.

Are Xref Exit Surveys secure?

Completing Xref Exit Surveys is secure. We take data security extremely seriously. That’s why Xref is ISO 27001 certified and GDPR compliant. What this means in practice is that Xref offers the highest level of security available for protecting data.

Are Xref Exit Surveys available in multiple languages?

Yes. Xref Exit surveys have multi-language functionality enabling organisations to use languages best suited to the needs of an exiting employee.

How do Xref Exit Surveys help create a talent pool?

When an exiting employee completes their Xref Exit Survey, they are asked if they wish to be informed of future open positions within the organisation. If the respondent agrees, they are asked to input the role/s they would be interested in, their core competencies and position-related skills.

The candidate is then able to score their own core competencies and position-related skills out of 5. Once this is completed, the answers are sent to the exiting employee’s former line manager for verification.

How verification works: 

The former manager verifies the selected competencies and skills of the departing employee and is then asked to score them out of 5. The manager is not shown the scores the exiting employee gave themself. The manager can also add notes if needed.

The two sets of scores are then averaged to give the final score for each skill and competency.

The exiting employee’s finalised profile with the averaged scores is added to an easily searchable talent pool that can be used by hiring managers to quickly and easily fill applicable positions.

What should I do if an exit survey returns negative results?

Not everyone leaving a job will do so happily, so there may be negative feedback. It’s essential that any negative feedback isn’t taken personally and that nobody attempts to explain away the results. Instead, you should consider all feedback a valuable source of information for identifying pain points that organisations can deal with to improve the work environment for remaining employees.


When an employee leaves a job, it’s essential to know why. Discovering all you can about the reason for an exit allows organisations to pinpoint potential problems that may impact employee retention on an ongoing basis. 

Xref Exit Surveys allow organisations to identify why employees have left, collate the information, and keep track of exiting employees who may be interested in returning for another position.

Using the collected information allows employers to make positive changes to organisations to improve the employee experience and aid in employee retention.

If you’d like to know more about how Xref Exit surveys can help your business, book a demo.

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