Exit interviews provide a unique chance to get candid feedback from employees, which can be very helpful for identifying ways in which HR management could improve. Departing employees have nothing to lose by being totally honest about their reasons for leaving, their experiences with co-workers or their opinions of company policy.
One thing a leaving worker does have to worry about, however, is damaging relationships that extend beyond the term of employment. The employee may be less frank about management’s shortcomings due to fear of a bad job reference. Some staff may plan to stay in touch with former co-workers and don’t want to burn bridges. Others simply don’t feel comfortable bad-mouthing the people they will leave behind.
Feedback, though illuminating, is not useful from just one exit interview. Only speaking with all departing employees will allow you to identify trends that point to chronic or systemic weaknesses in the company’s retention management. For this reason, it is important to design effective exit-interview protocols and administer them consistently.
What to Ask in Exit Interviews?
Exit-interview questions should yield the most information possible. They should also give departing employees the opportunity to be candid in expressing their feelings and feedback. It is important to ask the same questions in every interview and record answers in a consistent manner. Of course, many responses lead to follow-up questions that can reveal more details of what caused an employee to leave.
Here are some questions that might be asked in an exit interview
1. What made you decide to leave the company? Were you frustrated with some issues, or was there an external reason to leave?
2. What did you find most satisfying about working for this company? This question can highlight areas that are important to employees and in which management can do more.
3. What did you find least satisfying about working for this company? This question might open a can of worms, but it can provide the most valuable input. It is important that the interviewer does not become defensive, but maintains an objective listening attitude.
4. How would you rate the level of support you received to perform your job duties? This question can uncover a host of issues, from relationships with supervisors to the effectiveness of IT systems.
5. Did any company policies or procedures inhibit you from performing your job duties to the best of your ability? You may learn that some policies are not serving the best interests of the company or that they are inconsistently applied. It is not unusual to learn that some managers invent their own policies.
6. What kind of performance feedback did you receive and how regularly? This question can elicit ambiguous answers. People who don’t think they need feedback may say it was fine, while those who crave it may believe they didn’t get enough. You might also learn that managers are not following policy when it comes to performance evaluations and informal feedback.
7. What qualities and characteristics do you think a person should have to be successful in this organization? This question can provide insights into the informal culture of a company and highlight traits that you should look for in future recruits.
8. What advice would you pass on to the next person selected to perform your job duties? This question often yields answers that uncover shortcomings in training, management support and other aspects of the company that needs improvement.
9. What are the salary and benefits of your new job? This question can provide valuable competitive intelligence in the battle for talent.It may highlight a need to improve your company’s compensation packages
What to Do with Exit-Interview Data?
All too often, exit interview responses are simply filed away with the employee’s profile, to be used only if litigation looms later.It is vital to track these answers, look for long-term trends and take action to correct mistakes or improve areas in which management excels.
The exit interview is your last chance to get employee feedback. Be sure to make the most of it.
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