Employee retention is hard. Retaining technical employees is even harder. Developers receive an absurd amount of emails from recruiters every week, each one tempting them with cooler benefits, a larger paycheck, or an innovative new product to work on. Developers like challenges – and if they feel like their current role is getting stale and not allowing them to explore and grow in the way they want to, another company might snatch them up.
One incredibly useful tool that can help with developer retention is to conduct proper exit interviews. Exit interviews – when conducted effectively, of course – are a great way to evaluate your current structures (whether that be something physical like benefits or salary, or something less tangible like career growth plans) and assess what changes should be made.
Exit interviews give the employee a chance to air their grievances and give honest feedback about the company, their former role, teammates, and much more. Since the employee likely left on their own terms, they have nothing to lose here (other than burned bridges, but that’s where constructive criticism comes in).
John Chapin, a Software Developer and Consultant at Capital Technology Services, says, “If there are dysfunctional relationships on the team or processes that the departing employee felt could be improved, they’re more likely to share their opinions in an exit interview.”
To get the exit interview feedback you're looking for, you’ll want to go over the standard questions, which include questions like:
Then there are the more detailed questions that are specific for developers. Some examples of these type of questions could be:
And remember -- a developer who has a positive exit interview experience is more likely to recommend that his/her friends check out the company’s open roles. If you listen to the feedback you’re getting and make actual changes based on it, you’ll be conducting far fewer exit interviews in the future.