How to improve the exit interview

8 Sep

Exit interviews serve a useful purpose.

Exit interviews are a crucial part of human resources' job. This process help determine an employee's reasons for leaving – knowledge that can be used to increase retention and improve the workplace for remaining staff. One problem is that not enough employees receive an exit interview, which leads to incomplete data for HR. Often, those who take the time to complete or participate in an exit interview or survey are those who were either exceptionally happy or unhappy at the company. Here are some tips to increase the number of interviews and get better information:

Better structure
Don't just shove the employee out the door on his or her last day; have a structured exit process that includes an interview. According to ERE Media, more people are likely to participate in an exit interview if HR takes time to explain the exit process. Communicate the reasons for the process as well as what the employee can expect prior to departure. Tell employees that their feedback is vital in making the organization a better place for its staff. Knowing exactly why responses are important could increase staff participation.

Give them a choice
Having more than one option in the exit process could make employees more likely to give you feedback. While a one-on-one interview intimidates some staff members, a paper-based survey may seem like a more attractive option. It is hard to voice harsh criticism. Some employees find it easier to share this information in writing. Conversely, if the written survey appears time consuming, some staff members may opt for an interview instead.

Ask the right questions
It's true in any interview, and it's especially true in an exit interview: Thoughtful questions yield better answers. Employees on their way out the door are in a delicate situation. They don't want to burn bridges with their previous employers, which means they may not be inclined to be brutally honest. Rather than asking the employees why they are leaving, Monster suggested you inquire about why they began looking for new employment in the first place.

Don't wait until they leave
Too often, employers don't have these types of in-depth conversations with staff members until their notice has been given. Why not turn the exit interview on its head and create a "stay interview?" as Entrepreneur magazine suggested. Rather than wait until your best performers have one foot out the door, talk them about their feelings – what works and what the company could do better.

Follow up with the right tools
Gathering data about employee departures is useful only with the right software. No matter how you choose to go about the exit interview process, it's important to have employee management software to document the conversations you have with staff. Save the information from exit interviews so you can use it to improve the workplace and document various staff issues over time.

The exit interview serves a necessary purpose in the business environment, but the process has yet to be perfected. Improve your exit interview strategies to get more out of these conversations and put the insight to good use.

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