When an employee leaves your company, whether it was on your terms or theirs, it’s important to understand exactly what went wrong. Enter the exit interview. This is your opportunity to find out what’s working in your company and what isn’t. Exiting employees can tell you exactly which issues need your attention.
Here are five best practices for conducting exit interviews:
1. Determine goals before the interview.
Before you do anything else, you need to decide what you want to get out of the interview. There are a number of reasons to conduct exit interviews.
Some of these include: to end on good terms with the employee; to better manage future employees; to improve recruitment; training, and on-boarding practices; to pass information on to successors and replacements; to increase employee retention; or even to retain the exiting employee.
Before every interview, make a list of the specific goals you want to achieve.
2. Be tailored, but consistent.
Obviously, every exit interview will be different. They need to be tailored to the employee who is exiting. These employees will come from all different departments and seniority levels within your company, so these factors definitely affect the process. That being said, it’s also important to have a consistent system for conducting these interviews.
It’s a good idea to have an employee pretty high up in the chain of command conduct these interviews. Choose someone who has a hand in many departments and oversees a majority of your employees. This allows for the process to be efficient and consistent. If one person handles all exit interviews, they can make better decisions about the feedback and areas to improve. Additionally, all exit interviews should have the same format before tailoring them to the interviewee.
Once you decide the goals of the interviews, who will conduct them, and how they will be formatted, this policy should be documented.
3. Make it a conversation, rather than an interview.
Exit interviews aim to uncover honest feedback from exiting employees. The best way to achieve this kind of feedback is to make the interview less formal and more conversational. The conversation should focus on the exiting employee’s contributions to your company in addition to the feedback you require. An exit interview will be more beneficial when your employee feels appreciated. This will give them more motivation to offer you advice for the future of your company.
4. Ask for valuable feedback.
Going back to those goals you established, it is important to ask exiting employees for valuable feedback. This could involve recruitment, on-boarding, training, benefits, culture, work load, and many more things. Cover all of these areas in order to see the full picture. Look for the good and the bad. Find out exactly why your employee decided to leave (it may be different than you thought). There might be problems you didn’t even know existed. Ask the interviewee to be honest and constructive for the benefit of future employees. Hopefully they can provide you with valuable insight.
5. Finish on a good note.
At the end of the exit interview, it’s important to say thank you and wish them luck in future. Hopefully, you can end on good terms with the employee. It’s important for both parties to avoid burning bridges.
Record all the feedback you receive and compare it to other exit interviews. If you notice a prominent issue, take steps to make immediate changes. It’s important not to put off these changes because they could end up following though the cracks.
Hopefully, with increased changes as a result from exit interviews, you can increase retention in the future.
What are some other best practices you recommend for the exit interview?
For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.