Exit interviews should be more than a perfunctory goodbye. Without question, it’s hard for any company to lose a talented employee. Even if the employee was run of the mill, the process can still be difficult. Whenever you have an effective team, losing a team member brings about changes in balance and shifts in authority.
The Value of Exit Interviews
The question is how to turn such a situation into a potential positive. As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management has learned how to help our client companies turn exit interviews into an ongoing resource. Exit interviews can help to improve employee engagement.
In many ways, the exit interview is the key part of the off-boarding process. Often mistaken as a waste of time, an exit interview can provide your company with valuable information. When done effectively, such an interview can help improve a company’s employee retention strategies. It also can reveal organizational issues that need to be addressed.
Guidelines for Effective Exit Interviews
When conducting exit interviews, Total HR recommends that you follow these basic guidelines. By implementing these protocols, a company can turn exit interviews with once valuable employees into an opportunity. The information obtained can become an ongoing resource that can help a company succeed. The goal is to make sure that mistakes are not repeated so valuable employees are not lost for the wrong reasons.
By following these guidelines, you can help your business succeed moving forward.
Nine Basic Exit Interview Guidelines:
- Always give an advance written notice of the interview. When you give an employee this notice, provide questions that you might want to ask in relation to organizational issues. The written notice should be given at least two to three days in advance of the interview.
- To encourage greater participation, you should detail the purpose of the interview. Explain that although the interview is not required, you would appreciate a frank and open discussion. Promise confidentiality so the employee can open up and be truthful.
- If possible, the interview should be conducted by someone other than the employee’s immediate supervisor. By having someone more independent and remote conduct the interview, you open the door to accessing more critical and potentially valuable information.
- Balance the interview between universal questions all exiting employees are asked and questions specific to that employee’s job and place in the company. Such a balance provides answers that can be compared and tracked while also delivering detailed information to that particular company position.
- Always prepare questions in advance and be honest. Find out what’s lacking in your company culture and what the employee would change if they had the power. In terms of their specific job, ask what needs to be improved and what details about the job should be passed onto the person’s replacement.
- Do not discuss office gossip. Avoid asking for personal opinions about specific people in the office. Focus on principles, not personalities.
- Ask the employee to identify workplace issues that might be causing low morale and turnover. Give the employee the freedom to be critical. Ask follow-up questions when needed.
- Do not take any critical feedback personally. The exit interview needs to be characterized by a professional, business mindset. Like in the office, personal issues need to be shunted to the side.
- Avoid burning bridges at all costs. Every employee exit interview and working relationship should ideally end on a positive note.
Critical Information and Exit Interviews
In many cases, an employee exit interview can provide critical information that will help your company. By allowing the employee to take off the gloves and be honest, you open the door to hearing what’s not being said directly in the office. Suddenly, implied problems become more obvious.
As an employee retention tool, an exit interview can boost engagement. The employees left on your team will realize their voices are being heard. Moreover, the knowledge gained is power that you can act on as an employer. With solid data and perspectives provided in an exit interview, you can implement positive changes to strengthen the company as a whole.
Total HR Management Can Help
As a professional employer organization, Total HR Management believes in providing our client companies with the very best in staffing services and employee management strategies. We can help turn your exit interviews into a valuable ongoing resource. To learn more about making this happen in your business, please call (800) 975-5128 today to set-up an HR audit.
No Legal Advice Intended: This blog includes information about legal issues and legal questions. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.