An exit interview is the last interaction between the management and the employee who is leaving the organization, either through termination or resignation. This can be an online/paper survey, or an in-person or telephone interview. This is to gather honest feedback on their experience in the company, the reason for leaving, suggestions, and scope for improvement in the company.
Exit interviews (EI) often uncover issues hitherto unknown to the HR. It could be about the manager’s leadership style, employees' viewpoint about the work, compensation and perks, the company goals, company culture and so on. Here’s how Exit interviews help the HR:
Insight into employees’ perception: Exit interviews tell you how the employees feel about the working conditions, the company goals, the company culture, their coworkers and so on. This will give clarity on how the company is run, if there's unconscious bias during recruitment and promotions, teamwork, etc.
Understand the industry benchmarks: You get to know how much your competitors are paying, the perks offered to the employees, time-offs, and who is poaching your employees.
Learn about the efficiency of a manager's leadership style: Companies often see an exodus of employees when the managers are not doing a job. They uncover this usually during EIs, and can take necessary action so that they don’t lose talented employees.
New ideas for improving the organization: Employees can offer their perspective to make things better that were until now unexplored by the organization. Employees may have worked at different places and have seen different ways of doing things that can be implemented in your organization.
Exit Interviews are usually conducted by the
- HR members
- Second-line managers
- Third-line managers
- External consultants.
These interviews can help address the issue at hand effectively. If the organization insists on having an additional level of interview, it would be best to have an external consultant as they are unbiased and can provide reliable information.
While Exit interviews are important for an organization to evolve, make better decisions, and control turnover rates, most organizations are unsure of how to conduct these interviews efficiently. Here are some steps to follow:
There are different ways by which one can conduct exit interviews. You can either do a combination of these methods, or do just one of them. They include:
Long and Short questionnaire
Online video interview
Paper-and Pencil or Online survey
Most companies prefer doing an online survey, followed by a face-to-face discussion with the second line managers. Face-to-face interviews offer a personal touch to the interviews and make the interviewee feel the exit interview has a solid purpose and meaning. That said, it can become time-consuming in large organizations, where hiring, dismissal, and resignations happen regularly. Employees may find it difficult to share unpleasant information in person. Also, it is difficult to track all the inputs verbally. That’s where Questionnaire comes in. This can be in the physical form (Paper and Pencil) or Online surveys. People will share their experiences more openly, and it takes less time. However, participation rates may be less, as it is left at employees’ disposal.
Usually, exit interviews happen during the last week of the employees’ tenure. However, if the resignation was prompted due to an unpleasant incident, it is wise to give it a week’s rest. This will give time for the emotions to rest, and employees can provide an unbiased opinion.
Respect the time of the employee.
Make them feel heard and let them know how you will act on their concerns
Ask them what they would like to have known about the company during the employee orientation.
Do not make last-minute offers to them or force them to stay.
Do not ask questions targeted at a particular employee, or a group of employees.
Do not ask personal questions. Keep it professional.
Do not ask questions based on office gossip or random conversations. Depend on reliable data.
Do not remind them to replay the unpleasant emotions or trigger them to speak ill about someone.
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