In addition to its public polling, Gallup partners with clients across a variety of industries to conduct exit surveys of employees who are leaving a company either in retirement or to take another job.

That has given Gallup some insight into the process, and allowed its staff to develop some best practices. Dipak Sundaram and Camille Patrick recently shared some of those ideas in an article on the company’s website.

Exit surveys are important because they can help an organization cut down on unwanted turnover. As the article points out, the cost of a lost employee is anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to twice his or her annual salary.

“The bottom line for organizations: Turnover, if not systematically studied and understood, can impede achievement of organizational outcomes,” the article states.

The article includes information on:

  • What data to collect;
  • How to ask questions the right way; and
  • What to do with the results once you’ve compiled them.

It also provides some resources for employers who want to develop or revise their own strategies on employee turnover.

“When it comes to exit studies, most organizations think of retention. The ultimate focus, however, should be the retention of your top-talent individuals who drive the majority of productivity, creativity and value for your organization,” Sundaram and Patrick write.

“Exit surveys, as well as ‘stay surveys’ of your star employees can help you identify why talented people leave or stay at your organization. Over the long run, a robust exit data strategy can improve more than just the number of employees you have — it can improve their quality as well.”

Read more.