An exit interview is a final interview with an employee departing your organization. Its goal is to get a sense of what an organization can do better in order to retain on to ensure employee retention. The discussion is either done through a physical meeting or a google form link sent to the departing employee. Exit interviews are not mandatory but they provide strategic insights to the HR department.
Same way there is an onboarding process, (refer to our article on tips for a successful onboarding programme) there also needs to be an offboarding process which is standard and consistent. An exit interview is ideally conducted in the final days of the employee’s employment with the organization. With notice already served and a possible new employment on the horizon, this is your greatest opportunity for a calm, thoughtful, and impartial conversation.
An exit interview ought to take place in a “neutral location,” such as board room or restaurant. An employee should feel comfortable opening up to a colleague in the HR department during a one-on-one session without feeling like they are being “cross-examined.” To make sure you cover everything you think is important, use a questionnaire to steer the conversation for a physical meeting and note the employee’s responses or ensure the google form questionnaire captures all areas to be covered.
Some Benefits of Exit Interviews
1. Retaining Existing Employees
One of the most important reasons why exit interviews are important is retaining existing employees. When an employee is leaving an organization, they can feel free to answer your questions about their basic concerns at the workplace. Sometimes, employee engagement surveys cannot give you accurate insights about your organization. Mostly because the answers are biased based on the fact that employees still belong to your organization.
2. Uncovering Employee Conflicts If Any
It’s not easy to get a true sense of how employees feel about the company culture, top management, or colleagues when they are still employed. They might not have aired out their grievances but that does not necessarily mean that they are happy. Exit interviews help you uncover such conflicts between employees if any.
3. Maintaining A Positive Work Culture
Conducting exit interviews aids in preserving a positive work environment. During exit interviews, treating departing employees with dignity and appreciation improves the mood of current employees toward their place of employment. They can then remain attentive and joyfully involved at work as a result.
4. Maintaining A Strong Employer Brand
Exit interviews are often the last chance for leaving a good impression. An open dialogue shows that a company can accept criticism, admit its mistakes, and demonstrate a willingness to improve. If you can listen carefully to a departing employee and convey your appreciation, they will remember you more positively and maybe even recommend you in the future.
Common mistakes made during exit interviews
- Make sure that the exit interview and other offboarding process components are clearly separated. The exit interview loses its private, transparent nature as soon as it becomes entangled with other conversations or goals.
- Exit interviews should not include direct or indirect supervisors. Be sure to conduct exit interviews with an impartial party, such as an HR representative, to avoid receiving untruthful feedback.
- Violating confidentiality. All information collected should be summarized and anonymized before being sent to management or supervisors. All of your employees will never again openly express their opinions if it comes to light that private criticism from exit interviews is being circulated.
Sample Exit Interview Questions
- Why have you decided to leave?
- What would have had to change for you to stay?
- Have you voiced your grievances in the past and how do you feel that was handled?
- How did you find the onboarding process?
- Can you describe your relationship with your manager or supervisor?
- How did you find the atmosphere in the team?
- Did your interview for the role set the right expectations?
- Did you feel like an appropriate career path was developed for you?
- Would you recommend us as a place to work to a friend?
- How would you describe our corporate culture?
- What advice would you be willing to offer to help us improve employee retention?
- In your eyes, what should we be mindful of in recruiting your replacement?
To evaluate and analyse the feedback collected in a methodical manner, it is imperative to use the same questions for every exit interview. Recurring criticisms based on the same questions would indicate a problem right away. Furthermore, it’s beneficial to see if any of the actions you’ve taken are reflected in the evaluations provided by later departing employees. It’s not always within your team’s control when employees leave. However, you have full control of the offboarding process. Structured exit interviews are a great addition, but you still need to make sure everything goes according to plan.