The best way to understand the reasons behind an employee departure is with an exit interview. Obviously the style of exit interview is different for someone who is being asked to leave, retiring, or dismissed compared to an employee leaving whom the organization would prefer to retain. Some employers limit exit interviews to departing management, supervisory, sales, and technical employees. However, exit interviews should be conducted for every exiting employee, regardless of their level in the organization.
Typically conducted after an employee has voluntarily decided to leave, the exit interview is key to organization improvement since rarely will you receive such frank feedback from an employee. It shows you are willing to act on employee suggestions and is intended to improve the company, not put the employee on the spot. Used in concert with employee satisfaction surveys, exit interviews are a rich source of information for organization development.
Think exit interviews are a waste of time? Think again! When used properly, the information you receive could increase operational efficiency, boost employee morale and create a more profitable company. The obvious short-term benefit is that you decrease the possibility of losing other valuable employees, which can be very expensive.
These interviews also allow you to gain insight into your supervisor's management skills and how effectively he/she runs their department. You might learn of changes your company should consider that could make the position more competitive with your markets compensation, benefits packages, flexible work arrangements, and so forth. Or maybe even some changes that need to be considered in your management team.
The exit interview is the best time to discuss final pay and benefits issues; ensure the return of keys, security cards or company property; and explain policies relating to the departing employee.
Tips for your upcoming exit interview:
Open-ended questions work best, as they require explanations, not one-word answers. However, interview questions and answers should be well-documented by the employer in order to assist with any future legal case brought about by the employee.
Consider these questions in your next exit interview:
As you review the responses, watch out for trends: