Exit Interviews

Exit Interviews

When an employee leaves an organization voluntarily, they are typically given an exit interview. It is usually a series of questions that asks the employee how their jobs could have been better and what could have been done to make them stay. These questions are either given in a survey form, asked in an interview by either a Human Resources representative or an outside consultant. The information is taken back and analyzed.

Exit interviews should be taken seriously. It is a prime way to gather valuable
information. We can find out if there is a disproportionate amount of people leaving
from one particular department. Is there something the organization can do to minimize
turnover? Is the employee leaving with valuable information? If so, it enables an avenue
to transfer the knowledge to another employee.

Exit interviews not only gather information but serves as a good will gesture. From the departing employees’ perspective, an exit interview is a chance to clear the air, get whatever they want off of their chests and leave on a positive note. The exit interview demonstrates that they were valued as employees.

From the Corporations’ standpoint, the exit interview provides an opportunity to make peace with a possibly disgruntled employee. It is an opportunity to validate the employee’s hard feelings and thwart any potential legal action. The corporation and management will be appraised by the departing employee, there is potential for making some positive changes that may discourage others from leaving. If management desires to retain the employee the information may help give him or her what she needs to stay or perhaps be enticed to come back in the future.

If the departing employee has specific intellectual capital, exit interviews allows management to ascertain the best way to transfer the knowledge. The exit interview should be done at least a week before the employee departs so he or she can help train either their replacement.

Before conducting the interview have your goals clear. Make an appointment with the departing employee. Have the questions ready. Prepare a checklist, including a list of any property that the employee must return to the organization. Ensure that the interview is given in a comfortable and non-threatening environment. Remember to make the appointment far enough in advance to schedule time for transfer of learning. Keep the questions non-adversarial. Keep the mood calm. The questions should be open ended and allow the interviewee to speak freely. Ask about the new job to get a better idea of why the employee is leaving and how different an environment has been chosen. If any confidentiality agreements were signed at the time of on boarding, now is the time of reminding the employee of the signed agreements.

The information that is obtained during an exit interview can help with employee retention and the ability to trouble shoot in the working environment. The interviewer should be sympathetic and have the ability to probe and ask questions around any concerns.

Exit interviews can be done by a Human Representative in your company or an outside consultant. The benefits of hiring a consultant for Exit Interviews are that there is more chance that the exiting employee would speak freely and less chance of any confrontation.