Any time a valued employee leaves your company, you’ll want to know what motivated their departure. An exit interview is a great opportunity to gain critical feedback from an employee to better understand their reasoning. Here are some tips and techniques for effectively conducting an exit interview and getting the most from it.
Create a Comfortable, Casual Atmosphere
The entire purpose is to get unbiased, unadulterated feedback on your business. In order to obtain that, it’s crucial that your employee feels comfortable. Most HR experts agree the best way to do that is to hold a private interview that involves very few people. In fact, the National Federation of Small Business recommends it’s one-on-one.
According to them, “Ganging up” on a departing employee with multiple interviewers or asking exit interview questions in a public setting could be intimidating and might limit the person’s willingness to respond honestly.” Also, aim for a casual atmosphere where things are fairly informal, rather than rigid and uptight.
Have Someone Other Than the Employee’s Manager Conduct It
One mistake some companies make is arranging it so an employee’s direct manager is the one conducting the exit interview. But this can be problematic, especially if the manager is the primary reason the employee is leaving in the first place (as is often the case).
Instead, you’re better off having someone from HR handling it, simply because you’re more likely to get an honest, unbiased response.
Mention That the Interview is Confidential
Confidentiality is key. Employees need to know the information they divulge won’t be spread to sources outside your company – or in some cases, certain departments within your company. Knowing what they share is safe should provide added incentive to be open.
Try to Obtain Specifics
Remember, your goal is to get details on what went into an employee’s decision to leave. You want to know “the why” behind what drove them to leave. Therefore, it’s important you ask the right questions that will shed light on the details.
Here are a few particular questions that Sling suggests asking:
- Why are you leaving?
- Why did you start looking for another job?
- What could we have done better?
- What could we have done to keep you here?
- Did you have the tools and training necessary to succeed?
When done correctly, an exit interview can provide you with valuable information on the logic behind an employee’s departure from your company. The points mentioned here should help you streamline this process and make it more efficient.
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