The Value of Exit Interviews

Why Exit Interviews are so Important?

Recently, an employee of client gave their resignation and asked when will my exit interview be.  The employees’s manager was not sure how or if this happened when an employee left the organization.  Upper management is aware that they have been done in the past, but not consistently.

Exit interviews, if done properly, can provide some valuable information and consistency of practices with exiting employees,

Being prepared for the interview is critical to stay on track and gather valuable information regarding why the employee is leaving the organization, how the organization treated the employee, how management treated the employee and whether or not there is some underlying reason for the employee to resign.  I recommend having a questionnaire that asks the same questions of all employees leaving the organization whether the employee termination is voluntary or involuntary.

Often times employees feel more comfortable sharing information about the company culture, pay and benefits when they are on their way out, that we may not learn while thy are employed.

Some questions to ask:

             Why are you leaving XYZ Company?  Compensation, benefits, other….

             Would you recommend XYZ Company to someone you know for employment?

             Did the Company provide you with the tools you needed to do your job?

             Did you feel that you had advancement opportunities available to you?

No matter how much we tell employees that retaliation for speaking up is not a legal practice, employees often wait until the exit interview to “Spill the Beans”.

During this exit interview, I learned some valuable information that I was able to provide to my client about the real reason this employee was leaving without sharing any confidential information received from the employee.  An employee who has been working for a company for many years, doesn’t all of a sudden make a career change unless there is a reason.  This employee was not leaving because they were getting more money, not because of the benefits……because they could not work for their manager any more and felt as if they were being bullied and had no other choice but to leave the work he/she loved.

At this point, it was too late to save the employee from leaving however, it raises concerns that will be addressed for those employees who remain.

My clients tell me, as an HR Consultant, the value that I bring to them is being able to uncover valuable information about their organization, their culture and their exposures without having any bias.  They want to be aware of the problems that may exist and retain their employees.  Their employees feel comfortable sharing and talking to someone who is not “employed” by the organization.