Virginia Department of Transportation

Conducting Employee Exit Surveys to Understand Employee Turnover

Who They Are

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is the government agency responsible for building, maintaining, and operating the state’s roads, bridges and tunnels. Through the Commonwealth Transportation Board, VDOT provides funding for airports, seaports, rail, and public transportation.

The Highlights

  • Increased survey response rates
  • Increased employee net promoter score
  • Cut down on the time it took to collect and analyze feedback
  • Created a centralized dashboard so each district could have visibility into its own employee reports and agency-wide reports
  • Provided a way for departing employees to speak with employee relations representatives to discuss unresolved issues and make final comments
  • Inspired the formation of a task force devoted to analyzing exit survey data

The Challenge

Before VDOT began using Inquisium, the agency conducted employee exit surveys by sending out batches of paper surveys with self-addressed envelopes on a monthly basis to employees who were leaving their positions voluntarily or involuntarily. Once employees filled out the survey and sent it back, a staff member at VDOT had to painstakingly enter the responses into an internal database before the agency could run reports.

Not surprisingly, this method of collecting feedback was riddled with inefficiencies. In addition to garnering low response rates from employees, it was time consuming and presented too many opportunities for error. Human resources managers struggled with outdated reports and the inability to see how employee feedback on a district level compared to the overall agency-wide feedback.

The Solution

In May of 2014, VDOT began using Inquisium to conduct employee exit surveys. Instead of mailing paper surveys, VDOT was able to send postcards with a link to the online survey and a QR code, so employees who did not have a household computer or an email address had multiple ways to access the survey.

Inquisium also set up a centralized dashboard to help human resources managers and executives from the nine district offices instantly view real-time reports from their respective districts or the entire agency.

  • “Inquisium made it possible for us to give our data more context. We can identify major issues by job role, district area, and business function and begin to devise a way to fix what’s going on.”

    Sumi Lanneau

    Human Resources & Training Division Business Manager, VDOT

  • “Retaining our talent is very important to us. We need visibility into why employees are leaving or what we can be doing better to continue to cultivate our talent pipeline. If we don't have a talent pipeline, especially for positions such as the transportation operators who build our roads, it impacts the agency, the citizens in our state, and those who travel through it.”

    Sumi Lanneau

    Human Resources & Training Division Business Manager, VDOT

  • “It takes time to hire a new person and train them so they can be productive. That’s why it’s important for us to gain insight into why people we invest in leave. We don’t want to lose talent, productivity, and critical knowledge.”

    Sumi Lanneau

    Human Resources & Training Division Business Manager, VDOT

The Business Impact

By switching to Inquisium’s online survey format, VDOT was able to increase response rates and analyze responses in real time. This prompted the agency to add a question to the survey that asks employees if they want to be contacted by an employee relations representative. In doing so, departing employees are afforded a chance to candidly air final frustrations, make suggestions, and, ultimately, have their voice heard in a timely manner. Sumi Lanneau, a Human Resources & Training Division Business Manager at VDOT, said she believes that giving employees this opportunity increases the likelihood that they’ll speak positively about their experience at VDOT. It also allows employee relations representatives to document complaints, identify any problem areas, and resolve issues they might not have otherwise known about. The reporting dashboards were met with enthusiasm by human resources managers and executives. They liked how they were able to instantly break down results by district and job function. The clarity and ease of reporting served as the impetus for VDOT to create a task force dedicated to examining exit survey results and taking future actions to curb overall workforce turnover, with a special focus on monitoring turnover among transportation operators positions and turnover from pipeline programs geared at building future leaders.