Making Time for Exit Interviews

jenny-caccimelioI know what you may be thinking: "Conduct exit interviews? The employee is already leaving. Is it really necessary at this point?" Instead of looking at exit interviews as just one more task on your plate, consider the bigger picture and the benefits of obtaining information from an employee who likely has a lot to say. Benefits of Exit Interviews

  • Exiting employees are more likely to be more open and honest about the company, their department and position. Also, the feedback they provide may represent a segment of the population rather than just their own views.
  • Perceptions are reality. The exiting employee's view of the company, culture, long-term future, treatment by leadership, etc. - whether factual or not - is what he/she believes to be true. The organization's leadership and HR team need to be aware of these perceptions to reinforce the positives and make changes where necessary.
  • Employees - current and past - are your organization's unofficial ambassadors and have many connections inside and outside of the company. Jobs and companies frequently come up in conversations in our lives outside of work.
  • Retention of employees should always be a focus and the insight gained from these meetings can play an important role in whether or not your organization keeps key talent.

Tips for Conducting Exit Interviews

  • Conduct exit interviews for all voluntary resignations.
  • Encourage candid feedback.
  • Explain with whom the information will be shared.
  • Ask questions that will provide the most useful feedback - both good and bad:
  • Reasons and timing for leaving
  • Satisfaction level with pay, benefits and training
  • Culture and environment - overall company, management and individual department
  • What they liked most about working at your organization and when they felt the most satisfaction and pride
  • What they would say to a friend or neighbor about the organization and whether or not they would recommend it to a job seeker
  • Recommendations that would positively impact the workplace
  • Handle and communicate the feedback in a manner that is both respectful to the exiting employee and to the leaders who may be the focus of his/her feedback.

When an employee decides to move on, your instinct might be to focus on finding a replacement. But if you take the time to really understand his or her motivations for leaving and perceptions of your organization, the information you learn might help you retain other key members of your team.