How to Conduct an Effective Exit Interview

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How to Conduct an Exit Interview: Best Practices and Tips

Employee exit interviews can be a powerful instrument in helping your company’s growth - but they can also be tricky. Are you unsure whether you are conducting them effectively?

If so, don’t worry; we’ve compiled insight on how to conduct exit interviews! Read on to learn some of the best practices of exit interviews. 

What Is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is a process held with a departing employee before they depart the organization. They are used as a technique for companies to find out why the staff is leaving their organization. Employees can utilize these to communicate their opinions on what they love about working for the organization and what areas need to be improved.

Why Should You Conduct Exit Interviews?

We believe that exit interviews, when properly planned and performed, can be a very effective HR tool that many organizations should employ. Exit interviews can help you assess an employee's overall experience with your organization.

As a result, you'll be able to determine barriers and areas to improve your company's retention rates and culture.

We have listed the following advantages of doing exit interviews:

1. Reduces the costs associated with employee turnover

Exit interviews provide employers the opportunity to learn why their employees are quitting. While conducting the exit interview, employers can gain useful information about an employee's work experience and uncover elements that can potentially improve retention rates, saving plenty of funds associated with high employee turnover.

2. Boosts your recruiting efforts

Exit interviews can also be used to recruit new staff. They allow firms to learn what influenced their staff to seek employment from a competitor. Employers can adapt and strengthen their employee value proposition, using it to draw in fresh talent.

3. Provides a peaceful transition

Exit interviews are crucial because they give both the company and the employee a sense of closure. An exit interview allows both the departing staff and the employer to appropriately conclude their professional relationship and end it on a positive note.

4. Avoids legal problems

Exit interviews are also significant since they allow staff to settle any problems before leaving the organization. An employer can reduce the likelihood of potential legal issues and lawsuits by reminding employees of their responsibilities with the company, such as a contract not to work for a competitor for at least a year, copyright regulations, and safeguarding business secrets.

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How to Conduct Exit Interviews

We recommend following these steps to conduct a successful exit interview:

1. Determine your interview format

Offering the departing staff a questionnaire could save you time and eliminate awkward conversations. Yet, there are several advantages in holding a face-to-face exit interview:

  • By devoting time to listening to what your employees say, you demonstrate that you value their voice.

  • Rather than filling out a standardized questionnaire, you have the opportunity to have a less structured dialogue that may yield surprising responses.

We also found that providing the departing staff with options such as a link to an online questionnaire or a phone interview helps them feel more comfortable and provide honest opinions.

2. Make a list of questions to discuss

We think it’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions in advance for face-to-face exit interviews. Instead of closed discussions with yes or no responses, ask open-ended questions that begin with "what," "how," or "why." To establish consistency, ask the same questions at each exit interview.

Establish a standard written questionnaire that will be utilized for all departing staff. Questions that require a rating or score are useful for aggregating data and making assessments from one year to the next. Be sure to balance rating questions with open-ended ones.

3. Maintain transparency

We believe that it's good to communicate the issues you want to discuss ahead of time with the departing employee. Create a list of the topics you would like to address or subjects you'd like to explore and email them in advance.

This makes departing employees comfortable and increases the likelihood that they will respond with meaningful, well-developed responses. Instead of coming up with something on the spot, they get a few days to think over their personal experience and provide genuine input.

4. Pay close attention while conducting the exit interview

We highly advise that the interviewer pay close attention to what employees say during a departure discussion and ask many questions. This can assist you in making sure you understand what they're saying and reading their body language correctly to reveal their actual feelings. It is also good to follow the following best practices for exit interviews:

  • Be empathetic by listening to what the employee is expressing without reacting.

  • Jot down everything the employee says so that you have a record. This also shows that you are interested in the information provided by the staff.

  • Finish the exit interview meeting on a polite and optimistic note. Thank the employee for their honesty and input, and pledge to use the information to make your workplace better. 

  • Wish them well for their new adventure.

Doing all of the above can get you more information and input than you would have otherwise.

Who Should Conduct Exit Interviews?

We feel the best interviewers are the people who can make the employee feel at ease to give genuine, unbiased feedback.

Some of the choices are:

  • The employee's immediate supervisor

  • A senior member of the management group

  • HR manager

  • Third-party consultants

A member of the Human Resources department is usually the ideal choice because they can address role-specific concerns and criticisms or recommendations for the business as a whole. 

Exit Interview Question Examples

We have compiled the following list of frequently asked exit interview questions:

  • What made you decide to leave this position? -- HR can use this question to determine whether the employee is leaving because of a better offer, dissatisfaction with the workplace, a private matter, or another reason.

  • What are your thoughts on management, and do you have any advice or criticism on how we should improve? -- This question allows HR to see management from the perspective of a departing employee.

  • Was there a period when you were particularly happy and proud of your job? -- This question will evoke a positive experience with the organization from the departing employee. HR may learn what they enjoyed best about the organization, whether it was a particular management aspect, their teammates, or the work environment.

  • Do you believe you received the necessary and adequate training? -- This question will reveal whether the departing employee thought the training was insufficient. Their suggestions for improvement can be genuine, which can assist future employees in being adequately equipped.

  • Do you believe the organization helped you achieve your career goals? -- HR can learn if the departing employee feels supported in their professional careers through training or education. Their feedback might help the company enhance its development programs.

  • Would you suggest this company to someone looking for work? -- HR can get candid answers on whether or not the departing employee would refer the company to others. They could even provide ideas on how to improve the job's appeal.

  • What factors did you consider when looking for a new job? -- The answer to this question may provide clarity into why the employee picked a different firm or position. Inquire about the particular reasons why the departing employee looked for a new position. For instance, ask whether the new position has greater compensation or benefits that the firm does not provide.

  • Would you be willing to stay? -- This question can assist HR in determining whether additional employment features, such as benefits or additional training, would make the position more appealing and make the employee stay back at the firm.

What to Do After the Exit Interview

Following an exit interview, the HR manager or interviewer should go over their notes, summarize the results, and examine the data obtained. An in-depth assessment of the answers provided by the departing employee will reveal what your organization is doing effectively and what needs to improve if you want to keep your best staff.

Make use of the information you've obtained to make your organization a better place to work. Create an action plan to tackle and strengthen your retention techniques once you've identified repeated issues and obstacles.

We suggest that the exit interview data should be compiled regularly so that the organization can evaluate and analyze key trends. If the exit interview is based on ratings and scores, measurements can be developed at each annual review to assess if the improvements yield the required outcomes.

Provide the Best Experience With Lanteria

We conclude that using the above-mentioned exit interview best practices will help your firm acquire important insights, enhancing its ability to attract and retain top talent.

However, exit interviews should not be used as the sole source of employee experience in your organization. To improve employee satisfaction and retention, you should perform regular employee interviews, check-ins, and surveys to get input and information on employee experience.

Lanteria creates HR tools and features that help companies grow. We have everything you need to manage your staff in one place, whether it's tracking time off or performing performance assessments. They help the organization successfully. Get in touch with us today to learn more and connect with a member of our team of experts! 


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