With recruitment budgets under pressure, it's more important than ever to reduce staff turnover. One of the most powerful ways HR can do this is by working out why staff leave in the first place.
Yet according to a survey of HR practitioners and leavers by employee engagement consultancy TalentDrain, revealed exclusively in Personnel Today, 79% of organisations do not have a discrete and identifiable budget for employee retention, and only 56% aggregate the exit data they receive from outgoing staff.
Most organisations (82%) collect some form of exit data, according to TalentDrain, but the number that actually implement retention projects on the back of this information is just 37%.
Anonymous data most valuable
Only 4% collect anonymous exit data, meaning that most of the information organisations receive from leavers is coloured by their knowledge that line managers might hear what they've said - hardly an encouragement for them to be totally honest.
"There's a huge difference in response if you know you're accountable for what you're saying compared with an anonymous survey," says Ron Eldridge, director of TalentDrain, and co-author of the research.
"HR practitioners tend to rely on hearsay or opinion, rather than a systematic analysis of reliable data. There's no reason why exit procedures should not have the same level of standardisation, objectivity and analysis as the selection process."
According to Eldridge, HR tends to use the exit interview as more of a 'tick-box' process than a strategic opportunity to see what the key retention issues are in their organisation.
So where do the greatest gaps in HR's knowledge about leavers lie? Team co-operation is a major sticking point. Only 4% of HR respondents to TalentDrain's survey felt that lack of teamwork was a turnover driver in their organisation, compared with almost 20% of leavers.
People don't leave managers
And the oft-quoted adage that 'people leave managers' does not ring as true as you might think: only 13% of leavers gave this as a real reason for leaving, whereas this was the third most popular reason cited by HR.
Finally, almost two-thirds of HR respondents thought staff left due to lack of promotion, while only a third of leavers said this