Vanderbilt implements university-wide exit survey as part of ‘Future of Work’

A new university-wide exit survey will enhance the overall Vanderbilt employee experience by providing measurable data on why people choose to leave the university.

“This survey is an important tool as we seek to improve the recruitment, professional development and retention of valued staff members,” said Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “We want to build on our collaborative and supportive workplace culture by encouraging constructive feedback that benefits current and future Vanderbilt employees.”

The survey, which was implemented June 1, marks the first time in university history that employees who leave the university voluntarily will receive a uniform exit survey to be completed online. The goal is to recognize what Vanderbilt is doing well and identify areas where improvements are needed. Given that the university employs individuals in a wide variety of positions, the survey is broad-based, with topics that include salary, hybrid/remote work arrangements, benefits and child care.

“Having a centralized process for tracking the reasons that people decide to leave Vanderbilt will help us build and retain the highest-caliber staff,” said Cleo Rucker, associate vice chancellor and chief human resources officer. “However, we want to emphasize the absolute confidentiality of survey responses. Answers to the survey will never be part of an employee’s record.”

Rucker added that the university exit survey is not intended to replace exit surveys or interviews already in use by leaders in various departments and units across campus—as those can provide more specific information pertaining to a particular area.

The university exit survey is the first of several priorities set by the Future of Work initiative, which has brought staff together from across the university to work on 10 shorter, targeted efforts, such as the exit survey, and five long-term projects—all of which have goals related to recruitment and retention of outstanding staff members. Updates on the Future of Work initiative will be provided later this summer.