In this article, we have put together an exhaustive guide for conducting the most effective exit interview. Full of best practices, it will widen the inside information you get from your employees during the offboarding process. The best exit interview questions are provided and a downloadable form is available.
Human resources are like natural resources; they're often buried deep. You have to go looking for them; they're not just lying around on the surface."Ken Robinson
Every time an employee informs you he'll be leaving the company, your first thoughts and actions are steered into finding a replacement: posting ads, searching the HR database for potential candidates, choosing the new member of your team. But don't neglect the person who is packing his things. Focus on conducting an exit interview. That one former employee may be the key to solving your turnover issues and finding effective approaches to improve retention.
The exit interview is the final meeting held between the management and an employee who is leaving the organization - either voluntarily or by termination. Its main purpose is to discuss the employee's reasons for departure and the overall experience he had during his time within the company. This final interview is a chance for the employer to collect useful feedback that can be of great help in the future.
Exit interviews are typically found in private business, but also in government environments.
The exit interviews process is critical for modern organizations. Here is why:
The less time-consuming way of getting feedback from a departing employee is the written one: you ask the person to fill out a questionnaire. Many HR departments develop a template with some basic questions and just give it to the employee.
However, if you really want to gain some knowledge from that employee, the one-on-one meeting is the format you should choose. You should provide a private room for the exit interview and assure the employee that confidentiality will be respected.
A member of the HR department is the best alternative because they have the needed soft skills and can address specific complaints related to the role of the employee and general issues related to the organization. The HR specialist should prepare an employee exit checklist and use it constantly, for every departing employee.
Some companies go further and choose an external consultant to conduct the interview. But you should be careful, this practice may seem impersonal.
What are the best practices when talking about how to conduct an interview?
We don't have the absolute perfect answer to this question, but will offer some expert tips and valuable HR guidelines.
First, the interviewer should have the questions ready, planned and make sure you use the same for every exit interview. This shows consistency and helps you extract something from all the received feedback.
The next step is to create a casual and cordial atmosphere, while reassuring the employee that everything discussed will be treated as confidential information.
Be transparent and share with the employee the reasons behind the exit interview. He should know that this discussion is not about deciding who is guilty of his desire to leave, but simply a discussion about what brought up this decision.
Your goal is to obtain useful feedback. This is why the best moment to hold the exit interview is the last day the employee spends in the office. If you have it a week or even 10 days sooner, you risk he will provide dishonest feedback. This may happen because of the chit chat caused between colleagues who hear of the departure.
Also, another key point in exit interviews is to refrain from disputing the employee's performance, work and behavior. You are not holding this meeting to reprehend him. Even if he chooses to speak badly about managers or colleagues, do not engage in this type of arguments.
Try to make a connection between the employer's departure and the hiring process. Did he get the job he expected, was the job description accurate? It's an important view for you and for your recruitment and onboarding process.
Make sure your tone is adequate and you allow the conversation to flow without restraints. Here are some of the must ask exit interview questions to consider, divided by topics:A. Reasons for leaving:
There are some topics you should avoid when conducting an exit interview. Stay away as much possible from risky questions like:
An employee's departure is a situation that could have many reasons and could reveal all types of reactions. How can you keep the discussion at a high level of honesty? Be positive: don't disclose any grudges. Thank employees for their work and wish them the best for the future.
Keep it short: don't waste time with endless questions. The employee has made a decision, there is no point in trying to win him over. Just show him that you care about his feedback and this could be a great asset for your reputation.
Don't have a defensive attitude: try not to interrupt the employee while he's answering your questions, even if you disagree with what he says. You are just an observer at this point, try not to defend actively the company or the management.
Having completed the exit interview, your job now is to analyze the responses you got and use that valuable feedback for improvement in:policy changes, management training sessions, better benefits packages.
Rarely will an exit interview tell you every single piece of information you'd like to know, but it's a practical start on determining why good employees leave.
“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don't have to.”Sir Richard Branson Click to tweet
If you enjoyed this guide, for sure you would like to download a ready to be printed. The template comes in PDF and Word format. We provide you the form for free.
Start using the exit interview word template for within your company for every employee that is leaving. Not only that you will know what went wrong, but also how you can make your company better.
If you are keen on ready to use pdf forms, we have one that you can just download for free.
Think about exit interviews as the perfect tool to increase the value of your organization: both internally and externally. By asking the right questions and planning the exit interview from top to bottom, you can disclose the true importance of this process.
We hope that our list of tips, best practices and advices regarding the exit interview will ensure you will have a smooth offboarding process.
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