Even though Noridian Mutual Insurance Co.'s 11.5 percent employee turnover rate is below the 12.2 percent industry average, company officials wanted to improve the retention of its 2,000 employees. "We want to be the employer of choice in Fargo," says Pam Lawrence, assistant vice president of human relations for the carrier. "Employee retention is important to maintaining a productive company."
So, in 2002, Noridian (Fargo, N.D.; $907 million in premium income), which operates as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan in North Dakota, embarked on an analysis of the reasons employees resigned to determine if anything could be done to improve employee retention. But the carrier quickly realized that its exit interview process was insufficient. Human resources staff used pen and paper and lacked a way to analyze exit interviews, which are conducted on a voluntary basis.
So, Noridian sought an automated system for conducting exit interviews to streamline the process and allow for efficient analysis, relates Lawrence, who was on the carrier's technology selection team and was lead manager on the implementation project. The solution, according to Lawrence, needed to be Web-based, partly to increase participation and partly to enable information to be compiled in a database, which would facilitate analysis, retention and retrieval.
The selection team examined products in 2003 and selected Nobscot Corp.'s (Honolulu) WebExit Online Exit Interview Management System. The Web-based subscription service fit the bill and was reasonably priced, Lawrence relates, so the carrier forewent a formal RFP process. "We liked the idea of a subscription service," she says.
Noridian Mutual purchased a 12-month subscription to the service in June 2004. Though no hardware was required to support the hosted solution, it took about four months to customize it, which involved reviewing the actual exit interview questions and setting up a structure for data tracking and reporting. Nobscot trained a single human resources representative - who in turn trained other HR staff - in just a few hours. The last three months of 2004 served as a pilot period, and full implementation started at the beginning of 2005.
About 47 percent of departing employees participated in the pilot, a marked improvement over earlier participation rates, Lawrence notes. It was more convenient for departing employees to take the Web-based exit interview, she explains, and employees now have the option of completing the WebExit interviews anonymously.
Though the pilot didn't reveal any clear problems, the solution recorded departing employees' positive attitudes toward the company, providing reinforcement for policies that work, according to Lawrence. In fact, information from exit interviews showed that employees viewed Noridian's management and policies favorably and were generally satisfied with compensation and the safe working environment. The information, Lawrence says, is valuable in maintaining a quality working environment.
Now that the software is fully implemented, human resources plans to provide detailed exit interview reports to management on a quarterly basis, Lawrence relates.
CASE STUDY PROFILE
Noridian Mutual Insurance Co. (Fargo, N.D.; $907 million in
LINES OF BUSINESS
Health, dental, vision, group life, cancer and dread disease, prescription drug.
Nobscot Corp. (Honolulu) WebExit Online Exit Interview Management system.
Organize and automate employee exit interview process.