Receiving employee feedback plays a crucial role in helping you retain employees and address company-wide issues.
However, here’s the ugly truth: despite focusing on engaging employees and being receptive to employee feedback (whether good or bad), it’s inevitable for employees to leave. So what can you, as an employer, do about this?
This is where exit interviews come into play. It offers an avenue where employees can share their experience in the company, both the good and bad. Businesses can use these valuable insights into solutions to improve daily operations, leadership, and overall workplace culture.
For this to work, you’ll need to have a consistent and systematic exit interview process in place. This article will discuss seven reasons why you should conduct exit interviews and how you can use them to your advantage.
What is an Exit Interview?
Let’s begin our discussion by defining what an exit interview is. In the Philippines, it’s a standard procedure in a company’s offboarding process. The purpose is to obtain honest feedback before employees depart from a company. This interview often follows a standard format to accurately capture the employee’s experience at work.
In an exit interview, you’ll learn:
- Why an employee decided to leave the company
- What they liked during their stay
- What areas you need to work on to improve employee retention
These fresh insights can help you identify the underlying factors that drive your employees to leave and plan intervention programs accordingly.
Who Conducts an Exit Interview?
Exit interviews are often conducted as a one-on-one discussion between the leaving employee and a member of HR. Since it’s designed to be a neutral conversation, it allows employees to express their thoughts, especially for employees who may have grievances with their managers.
Where & When is an Exit Interview Conducted?
An exit interview takes place before the employee's last day of work. It’s typically conducted face-to-face, either inside the office or outside (like a café). In light of the recent pandemic, however, some remote or hybrid teams may need to conduct exit interviews virtually.
Why Conduct Exit Interviews?
Exit interviews done right can provide you with valuable data to help address any lapses in your current workplace. Here are the top reasons you should put forth the time and effort to conduct effective exit interviews.
Discover the Employee’s Reason(s) for Leaving
Employees have different reasons and motivations for leaving a company. For example, they may not have received training or advancement opportunities. Maybe they felt overworked without receiving gratification. Meanwhile, others may experience mistreatment from their managers.
Whatever the reason, an exit interview is designed to see the company from the side of the employee and uncover the factors that drove them to leave for good. Their perspective may surprise you since it may be different from what you think.
Conduct a Smooth Offboarding Process
An exit interview also provides the opportunity to ensure a hassle-free offboarding process. During this stage, you can remind employees of their remaining obligations, such as maintaining confidentiality, protecting intellectual property, and upholding any agreements stated in their employment contract.
Reiterating the ongoing responsibilities of outgoing employees helps protect your company’s trade secrets and secure vital data and information.
Obtain Feedback on the Current Work Environment
In most cases, outgoing employees tend to be more forthcoming and honest with how they feel about the workplace. Conducting exit interviews can help you get a first-hand perspective on how things are within your company’s departments or teams. These fresh insights can help you identify areas of improvement within your company culture, leadership, and practices.
Raise Pressing Issues & Avert Risks
During exit interviews, employees can inform their employers (whether directly or indirectly) about any serious issues within the company. For example, they can point out poor leadership or inefficient work practices that hamper their day-to-day operations.
Once you’re aware of these concerns, it’ll be much easier for you to implement ways to prevent them from happening again and avert employees leaving for the same reasons.
Identify Areas for Improvement
Before coming up with intervention strategies, you’ll need to identify areas that require change. In an exit interview, your employees can provide constructive feedback and suggest improvements on your management style, learning and development programs, productivity matrix, and career growth opportunities.
Gather Info to Fuel Data-Driven Solutions
If you want to retain employees, band-aid solutions won’t work. You’ll need to employ long-term solutions that identify the root problem through data analysis.
Analyzing data will show common patterns and reveal the factors that drive your employees to leave. Armed with this info, you can craft the right strategy and implement targeted programs to improve leadership, training, recruitment, onboarding, and more.
One example of a tool that can give you holistic oversight of your company’s valuable data is Sprout Insight. Get access to never before seen data within your company that will help you craft actionable solutions!
End Your Relationship on a Positive Note
Sometimes, leaving a company can leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth, but conducting an effective exit interview can help facilitate a better departure from your company.
An exit interview done right can help you discuss any differences and express your openness to criticism. Moreover, it eliminates any bad blood between the company and the exiting employee.
How to Conduct an Exit Interview: Best Practices
The success of an exit interview relies on the employee’s level of honesty and your company’s interview practices.
Remember: an effective exit interview encourages positive change. Below we’ve listed some tips to help you make the most of your exit interviews:
- Brief your employee before the exit interview. Provide them with a run-through of the process and explain how it’s a vital process to make the company better.
- Give your employee enough time to prepare. You can send them the questions ahead of time so they can properly reflect on their answers.
- Ask relevant and role-specific questions. This helps you narrow down the scope of the interview while giving the employee the freedom to express their thoughts.
- Reassure them with a promise of confidentiality. In some cases, employees may feel hesitant to share something negative about the company. So make sure you reiterate that everything they say will be kept confidential.
- Stay neutral during the interview. As much as possible, don’t let your personal opinions cloud your judgment. Let the employee speak freely. After all, the interview is about them, not you.
- Compile and track data from the interview. After the discussion, analyze and interpret the results and make the appropriate interventions to prevent current employees from resigning for the same reasons.
- Transform data into actionable solutions. Don’t let the data keep you at a standstill. Instead, take action to drive your business forward.
Improve Your Workplace With Effective Exit Interviews
Adjusting your exit interview process can be challenging at first. Still, it’s a necessary step that can help your company become better and retain your top talents. Once you’ve identified the top reasons why people leave, it’ll be easier to make them stay instead of seeking out better opportunities.
If you need help simplifying your hiring process so you can save time, transform your recruitment process with Manatal, Sprout’s cloud-based recruitment software. Our tool can help you choose the right candidates, manage your talent pool, and strengthen team collaboration. Feel free to explore our blog for the latest news and insights on everything HR and workplace-related.