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Becoming Succession Ready: Staff Retention

For your practice succession, your successor will typically want to retain and keep your staff employed. Ideally, your practice would have an enviable staff retention history across the business. If staff leave your business, this is an opportunity to learn about your business from a different perspective through exit interviews.

You want your best people to stay with your business for your practice succession.The most effective strategies to retain your best people are:

  • Competitive compensation and benefits packages: Market remuneration is an effective and valuable starting point, but there are also other strategies to implement.

  • Regular performance evaluations and goal setting: You might do this annually, half-yearly or even quarterly. Whatever your timeframes, something will always be better than nothing.

  • Offering flexible work arrangements: This includes the ability to work in the office and at home.

  • Encouraging work-life balance: High-performing forms will ensure various measures are in place to drive work-life balance across the business.

  • Recognising and rewarding good performance: Take the time to acknowledge and reward the wins and successes with your team.

  • Encouraging open communication: Consistently ask your team for input and feedback.

  • Fostering a positive and supportive work environment: Focusing on cooperation, trust, teamwork, support, and accountability will assist in creating the right culture in your practice.

  • Investing in technology: Allow your team to embrace technology and drive efficiencies in your business, and

  • Clear career paths: Enable your staff to know what is required to advance their careers.

When staff do leave, you must conduct exit interviews to gain valuable insights into their experiences and identify areas for improvement.

The following are strategies that can help you achieve successful exit interviews:

  • Preparation: Plan your exit interview, ensuring you have all relevant information.

  • Timing: Ensure the interview takes place before the employee leaves your practice.

  • Confidentiality: Ensure that the exit interview is confidential and that the departing employee feels comfortable speaking openly and honestly about their experiences.

  • Open-ended questions: Use open-ended questions to encourage the departing employee to share their experiences, opinions, and feedback. (See Exit Interview Open-Ended Questions)

  • Active listening: Listen to the employee and avoid interruptions and distractions.

  • Objectivity: Remain objective and impartial, avoiding subjective opinions or biases.

  • Follow-up: Follow up on any feedback or recommendations provided during the interview.

By following these strategies, you can conduct exit interviews that provide valuable insights and help improve the firm's culture, overall employee satisfaction, and future staff retention.

When providing information to your successor about your firm, you should expect to provide details on how many employees departed in recent years (say, the last three years) and how many new appointments were made during the same period. At the same time, your successor will want to know about the average retention across the firm with your current staff.

Samples of exit interview open-ended questions

Use open-ended questions to encourage the departing employee to share their experiences, opinions, and feedback like:

  • What led you to decide to leave the company?”

  • Was there anything we could have done to keep you at the company?”

  • How would you describe your overall experience working here?”

  • “What did you like most about working here?”

  • “What did you like least about working here?”

  • How do you feel the company could improve its operations?”

  • Were there adequate support and resources available to you in your role?”

  • Were there any conflicts or challenges you faced in your role?”

  • How do you feel the company could have better supported your professional growth?”



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