Exit Interviews: What to Consider
By Diane Dunton, PotentialReleased.com
Employees leave organizations for a number of reasons, whether it's due to their retirement, a voluntary leave, job elimination or a company restructuring. For some employees, the decision to leave is theirs, while others are asked to leave for varied reasons.
Regardless of the reason that an employee is leaving, taking the time to speak to that employee (when appropriate) about their work experience can be valuable to a company.
Gaining Valuable Feedback
Exit interviews are one form of receiving feedback from exiting employees. They can be done formally or informally. Usually, supervisors conduct an informal interview, while someone in Human Resources takes the more formal approach.
One single interview cannot paint a true picture of the organization; however, over time and through several exit interviews, themes can emerge about an organization or a department. These themes, whether positive or negative, can be used to develop company strategies.
There are many considerations to think of before starting to conduct interviews of exiting employees.
Before coming up with the actual interview questions, here are six determinations that a company needs to decide:
- Who will conduct the interview? Will it be the supervisor, the highest level manager within a department, a human resources representative or some combination?
- Will the interview be face-to-face, by letter or online?
- Will the interview take place a few days before the employee leaves or scheduled (perhaps by phone) a few weeks after? The latter gives time for an employee to reflect on their total experience versus just the last few days.
- How will the information be used?
- Who will have access to the information?
- Who will be the gate keeper of the information?
What to Ask
The next steps are to figure out what data would be important to track and, therefore, what should the actual questions be?
Here are some possible questions to ask:
- Why did you join the organization?
- Did you have an orientation? If so, how did it help you acclimate to the company?
- What type of training did you receive?
- Were you treated fairly?
- Did you feel the benefits and compensation were fair?
- Did your work load adequately reflect your job requirements?
Delving deeper, more questions can be asked, such as:
- Do you think performance reviews provided you with valuable feedback? Why or why not?
- What are we doing well as an organization?
- What do we need to do differently or pay attention to?
- Would you recommend us as a place to work?
Conducting exit interviews should be done with planning and a strategy. They can be a mutually beneficial experience for both the exiting employees and the organization, if done correctly.
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Diane L. Dunton, MS, president of Potential Released Consulting Services since 1996, has over 25 years of business and HR experience. Diane has received specialized training with National Training Labs, the Gestalt Institute, Center for Creative Leadership, the University of Michigan's Organizational Career Development and the Center for Reengineering Leadership programs. She has developed programs for over 25,000 employees and leads more than 20 workshops annually offering executive coaching, professional individual coaching and programs on leadership and strategic planning. She has appeared before conferences of up to 9,000 participants and her work has appeared in both U.K. and U.S. management publications, including the Society for Training and Development's Team and Organizational Development Sourcebooks (2003-2006).Learn more about Diane at PotentialReleased.com.