Emerging Insights from Exit Interviews: The Role of Leadership Communication on Employee Turnover

May 10, 2024 | By Nobscot Corporation

Emerging Insights from Exit Interviews: The Role of Leadership Communication on Employee Turnover
Recent insights gleaned from exit interview data, particularly from sources like Nobscot, highlight an interesting new factor driving employee turnover. Traditionally, turnover is attributed to areas such as career advancement opportunities and lack of skills development. No doubt these areas are still of critical importance. However, in the last couple of years, a notable trend has emerged: the role of communication from upper management as a significant contributor to employee turnover.

Exit interview data collected by Nobscot, which gathers insights from companies across the globe, reveals a growing correlation between inadequate communication from senior leaders and employee turnover. Uncertainties about company direction, changes, and strategies may lead to concerns and disengagement. Without clear and transparent communication from senior leaders, employees may feel disconnected from the organization's goals and uncertain about their future within the company.

Conversely, a charismatic leader with vision who presents with empathy, authenticity, and a genuine concern for their employees can cultivate a culture of trust and engagement, leading to higher retention rates and enhanced organizational performance.

Opportunities for HR and Organizational Leadership:

These findings underscore the critical importance of ensuring communication from upper management - and HR can help foster that. In today's business climate, where employee retention is so costly, organizations cannot afford to overlook the impact of communication-or the lack thereof-on employee engagement and loyalty.

HR professionals are uniquely positioned to leverage these findings from exit interviews to advocate for enhanced leadership communication within their organizations. By partnering with senior leadership to develop robust communication plans, HR can help mitigate turnover risks and cultivate a culture of open dialogue and trust.

7 Creative Strategies for Senior Leadership Communication

  1. Leadership Brand: Work with the company's CEO to clarify what she or he wants to known for as a leader. Build communication strategies around that vision.

  2. All-Hands Meetings: Ensure regular company-wide gatherings where senior leaders provide updates on company performance, new initiatives and vision of the future. Encourage leaders to be vulnerable and not be afraid to ask for employees' help to reach goals as needed.

  3. Video Messages: Create video messages from senior leaders addressing important announcements, recognizing employee achievements, or sharing insights on the company's vision and values.

  4. Employee Newsletters: Include feature articles, updates, and messages from senior leadership in newsletters to communicate key information and share leadership thoughts and vision. Humanize the CEO and other senior leaders with background biographical pieces and motivating interviews.

  5. Departmental Meetings: Encourage the CEO and others in upper management to join in on departmental meetings to discuss goals, priorities, and challenges specific to each area of the organization. Borrow the old management tactic from the 1970s and 1980s of "Management By Walking Around," where Senior Leaders make unplanned visits to departments to chat with employees.

  6. Share Meaningful Stories: Use an online story-sharing platform such as Nobsot's StoryOlis where senior leaders share their perspectives, personal experiences, and insights on various topics relevant to the industry, the organization, and its employees, as well as more personal stories on their journey and how they overcame obstacles.

  7. "If I Were CEO" video: For something more lighthearted, have employees send in one sentence, "If I were CEO, I would __________." Have the CEO pull them out of a hat and read them.


In conclusion, the drivers of employee turnover are ever changing. Today, the significance of effective communication from upper management can not be understated. As exit interview data from sources like Nobscot highlights, companies should not ignore the need for effective, continuous and ongoing communication from above. HR can play a significant role in reminding senior management of this and in helping devise and coordinate opportunities for such. By doing so, organizations can position themselves as great places to work, capable of retaining top talent in today's competitive marketplace.

Nobscot provides the most advanced combination of technology, analysis, strategy, and guidance to continuously monitor and reduce employee turnover in organizations across the globe. Learn more at www.nobscot.com and email Nobscot at info@nobscot.com for a free discussion about your employee turnover.

Say Goodbye to Turnover, Not Employees.