It’s never an easy conversation when an employee informs you they are leaving your company. You can work to increase retention in the future by having an open conversation with the employee that may be either an exit or stay interview depending on the situation.
Having an honest discussion about their reason for resigning can lead to making improvements in your organization’s processes, employee experience, etc. This can be an effective way to both improve retention and increase the likelihood of boomerang employees – those who resign but come back to work for your company.
In most cases, an exit interview is performed when an employee is leaving voluntarily, though some of these questions may also be appropriate for terminations in certain circumstances. Make sure all employees who may handle resignations or terminations are trained on how your company would like different cases to be handled.
You may choose to perform exit interviews in person or by a written questionnaire. Having a face-to-face conversation may offer you more opportunity to ask follow-up questions and focus on specific areas. However, the employee may feel intimidated which may lead to limited responses. Exit interviews should take place with an HR representative or an upper-level manager. To receive honest feedback, an employee’s direct manager should not partake in the exit interview.
The Benefits of Exit Interviews
Conducting exit interviews when the opportunity arises, can be a valuable resource for improving employee satisfaction and retention. This allows you to specifically identify any issues with company policy, culture, personnel, management, or ethics that caused an employee to leave the company. With that specific information, you can move forward in deciding how to better avoid turnover.
In addition to these larger issues, a resigning employee can provide insight into any issues with their team and position. Their feedback can lead to better onboarding, training, and help others in their position increase productivity.
Remember, exit interviews are only as valuable as what you make them. If you conduct interviews and do nothing with the information you’ve learned – you’re going to miss out. If you’re struggling to find ways to analyze the data in a timely manner, written exit interviews may be a good option so you can easily sort and scan responses for common issues.
What Questions Should Be Asked in an Exit Interview?
When your exit interview questions are structured, different people’s answers can be compared to each other. For written response exit interviews, this will be easy, for your face-to-face exit interviews you can allow for flexibility while still making sure to address your standard questions. Here are a few ideas for relevant and appropriate question to ask:
- Why have you decided to leave the company? (if voluntary resignation)
- Have you shared your concerns with anyone in the company prior to this?
- Was there one incident responsible for your decision?
- What did you like and dislike about the company?
- What did you like and dislike about your position?
- What would you change about either?
- How was your relationship with your manager/supervisor?
- What could they have done differently or better?
- Did you receive adequate training to do your job properly?
- Did you receive adequate feedback on your performance?
- Were your manager’s expectations of you clearly articulated?
- Would you consider working for the company again in the future?
- Would you recommend it as a good place to work for your friends and family?
- Do you have any other suggestions or recommendations for areas we could improve?
- If applicable, you may wish to ask questions about their perception of your company culture, values, ethics, management styles, benefits, salary, perks, etc. The employee may be willing to discuss in particular if they chose a new position because of one or more of these reasons.
Remember that while exit interviews can be very beneficial to your business, it should not be the only time you ask employees to provide feedback. The best way to retain current employees is to make sure they are currently satisfied and try to remedy dissatisfaction before they leave the company. You can offer frequent opportunities for feedback through surveys, department meetings or suggestion forms.
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