If you’re looking for a quick “status check” on the culture of your workplace, ask this simple question: When employees leave the organization, how do they feel about it?
Do they leave with a good taste in their mouths? Do they feel like their period of employment was worthwhile? Might they even have some sadness over leaving because working there was a good experience? Will they say good things about the organization to friends, family, and associates?
Or, by contrast, do they feel angry, resentful, mistreated, or disappointed? And perhaps they’re mightily relieved to be out of there? Will they post negative things to social media sites that solicit anonymous feedback on workplaces? Will they trash the organization in talking to others?
Of course, circumstances behind departures vary tremendously, and not all partings are voluntary. Nevertheless, honest answers to this question reveal a lot about the psychological health and morale within any place of employment.
Some organizations do formal exit interviews, and depending on whether departing workers trust that process, the ongoing results can be revealing. Other organizations will skip soliciting feedback. Dysfunctional organizations will blithely label any unhappy current or departing employee as being “disgruntled,” an easy tag often used to dismiss the credibility of complaints or concerns.
This post was revised in June 2019.