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Exit interviews are a crucial tool for helping organizations evolve and advance. When executed properly, exit interviews allow employers the unique opportunity to gain insight into why employees leave, why they would have stayed, and how the organization can ultimately improve.
The most valuable exit interviews start with a strategic approach. Employers should first identify a manager that the exiting employee trusts and feels comfortable with to conduct the interview. The employee’s direct manager should likely not conduct the interview, as the employee may not be comfortable sharing negative feedback. It is important to create an open, conversational atmosphere to encourage the employee to be honest and candid, but direct. Questions should be prepared in advance and should be open-ended to allow the employee autonomy and thoughtfulness in his or her responses. While a structured and planned approach can sometimes put the interviewing manager at ease, employers should be cautious of creating a stiff and formal setting.
During the exit interview, Managers should keep the ultimate purpose in mind, which is to learn from the employee (even if the interviewer might not like what they have to say!). When conducted correctly, the conversation allows management to identify the root cause of the employee leaving and to consider ideas of how the organization can improve in the future. So, Managers should encourage the employee to share information, reminding them that it will ultimately better the organization, as well as current and future employees. It is important to remember that employee feedback can be surprising and tough, which can make it challenging to remain focused on the purpose and desired outcome of the conversation. Regardless of the nature of the feedback, the interviewer should ensure that the employee walks away from the conversation feeling good about their service to the organization and knowing that the relationship is ending on positive terms.
Following the interview, it is critical to capitalize on the information gathered. There is no benefit to conducting an exit interview to simply add it to an employee file. Information gathered during an exit interview needs to be analyzed objectively and shared with applicable parties to create action plans that will better the organization.
Exit interviews are an essential piece of the employment process and should be conducted consistently and purposefully. Real-time feedback provides employers with key insight to the organization’s strengths and areas of opportunity, allowing management to be strategic in making changes that keep the organization’s current and future goals in mind.
For assistance with implementing and conducting exit interviews, call a professional at EctoHR, Inc. at 810-534-0170.