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Exit Survey

The goal of the exit survey is to help the university better understand reasons for staff and bargaining unit employee voluntary turnover, and to design strategies to improve future retention. 

Launched in January 2019, the Exit Survey is sent to staff and bargaining unit employees who voluntarily leave the university for reasons other than retirement or the end of a fixed term assignment. Exiting employees receive the survey within 24 hours of their resignation having been entered into Workday, and exit survey dashboards are updated in real time every time a respondent completes the survey. To date, over 700 exiting Cornell employees have completed the survey.

The Exit Survey focuses on overall satisfaction with Cornell as well as primary and contributing reasons for leaving. It explores the exiting employee’s satisfaction with their role at Cornell; challenges they may have encountered; their experience with their supervisor; and their sense of belonging at Cornell. Participants who are transitioning to a new place of employment are offered the opportunity to share information about their new job.


Employees want to grow their careers

Exit survey respondents have consistently listed recruitment by an outside employer or lack of opportunity to advance at Cornell (in many ways two sides of the same coin) as their top reason for leaving the university. In fact, nearly a third of all survey respondents indicated that lack of opportunity to advance was a contributing factor in their decision to leave.

Employees want to be recognized for their contributions

 Seventeen percent of survey respondents indicated that lack of recognition for their work was a contributing factor in their decision to leave Cornell.

Employees would consider returning to Cornell

More than 60% of exiting employees stayed at Cornell longer than they had originally intended, and close to two thirds would consider returning to Cornell should the right opportunity arise.


Career Growth

Career Success Center

The recently created Career Success Center is a portal designed as a one-stop shop to support employees interested in growing their careers at Cornell. It houses information about services, programming, resources and tools to help employees navigate and manage their own career development.

Retention & Engagement 

Engagement & Retention Conversations Toolkit for People Leaders

This toolkit was developed to encourage conversations between managers and employees to identify and address challenges employees face in their current roles, and to better understand and support employee career aspirations, leading to greater retention.

Recognizing and Appreciating Employees: A Toolkit for People Leaders 

This toolkit was developed to support managers in creating a culture where employees know their work is valued. It provides tips on day-to-day practices focused on recognizing and appreciating employees in a personalized and meaningful way.


Respectful Exits Guide

This guide is based on feedback from employees who indicated the exit process was not a positive experience for them. It provides managers with several important steps/considerations to help employees feel valued through their last day with Cornell. It may also help keep the door open for an employee to consider working for Cornell again in the future.