The announcement this week by the online estate agent Purplebricks that two of its senior executives were leaving is a timely reminder that, for all the talk of intense competition for the right people and the need to retain talent, departures – even at the higher reaches of companies – are not uncommon. Indeed, the lack of security of tenure is one of the reasons frequently cited in support of executive pay levels.

Away from the executive suite as well, many organizations lose employees they do not want to. Given the way they collect data on all aspects of their business, it is hardly surprising that companies have made exit interviews commonplace. And the best of them are using the information obtained to tune the whole process of developing talent from initial recruitment onwards to boosting their efforts in the ongoing battle to retain the best. In the words of Erin Lanciani, senior vice president, people and organisational strategy at the Boston-based pharmaceuticals company SAGE Therapeutics, it enables human resources teams to test whether they “got it wrong” with recruitment, whether the role changed or whether “was the person not able to grow into the role”.