The Johns Hopkins Gazette: June 25, 2001
June 25, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 38


Why Do Employees Leave Hopkins? HR To Gather Exit Info

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

As of July 1, the university's Office of Human Resources will begin formally collecting information from resigning staff members in an effort to determine why individuals leave the university and how they viewed their Hopkins work experience. Relevant information will be gathered from a Web-based departure survey and a voluntary, in-person exit interview before being stored in a computer database.

Audrey Smith, vice president for human resources, says the existence of a single, centrally housed database will help the university shape and improve its policies, procedures and practices.

"Overall, our feeling is this will aid in the retention and recruitment process," Smith said. "The information we gather will help us pinpoint areas we might need to give more attention to, or a policy we may need to revise."

Currently, departing staff are only required to submit a letter of resignation to his or her supervisor. While exit interviews, whether conducted by a supervisor or human resources manager, have been conducted prior to these new procedures, there was no uniform, university-wide process.

The new face-to-face exit interview is voluntary, and a sampling of departing employees will be asked to participate each month. Interviews will be conducted primarily by a divisional human resources manager.

All voluntary resigning staff who leave the university now will be encouraged to complete a confidential departure survey, available either online or at a divisional HR office. The survey asks employees to identify and rank the factors that contributed to their decision to leave. Issues addressed in the survey include opportunities for professional advancement, commuting distance, workplace satisfaction, benefits and compensation.

Those who participate in the exit interview, a more personal and in-depth analysis, will do so in addition to the departure survey.

Smith said the data collected from both interviews and surveys will be analyzed annually and should serve to confirm theories as to why some people voluntarily choose to leave the university.

"For instance, we know that lots of folks come here to get their degree and that after they graduate, they are more likely to leave us," Smith said. "It will be good to be able to quantify that type of pattern."

As part of the new exit interviewing program, an employee may now resign online by completing the Notice of Voluntary Resignation. The NVR may be submitted in lieu of a written letter of resignation.

Smith said the new procedures will promptly alert HR divisional offices to departing staff members. One major benefit of the early notification, Smith says, is that exiting staff will be deleted in a more timely manner from administrative systems, referring to their e-mail address and placement in the personnel directory and on payroll.

For more information about the exit interviewing process, or to fill out an NVR, go to