4 Ways to Master the Exit Interview11/25/2014
When an employee leaves a company, both the departing party and the employer face many challenges, regardless of the circumstance. Employers lose a member of their staff – someone they’ve invested in – and then add on the cost of replacing the employee, which typically includes a 30 percent uptick in salary, and companies are looking at an expensive ordeal. Exits can be especially difficult in situations where the departure is unexpected or the result of a negative employee experience.
However, as difficult as it may be when an employee departs, employers can find value in the process, most notably through an exit interview. Feedback from an exit interview has the potential to offset the cost of future employee losses by incentivizing business improvements by gaining valuable insight into areas of improvement.
Here are four tips to help employers navigate the sometimes challenging exit interview.
Treat the exit interview like any other interview
Due diligence is key. Review the employee’s work history so there are no surprises. In an effort to identify trends of exiting employees, take diligent notes. Be sure to send a thank you note afterward and invite them to an alumni group if your company has one. Encourage the employee to stay in touch – you never know when you could bump into them again!
Demonstrate empathy with employees
The key here is the tone and verbiage you use when asking questions. Disgruntled employees might find it hard to pinpoint the root of their frustration. Guide the employee to understanding their irritations by asking why they felt they didn’t have the resources they needed for a project. At the same time, its best to avoid pointed questions such as, “Why did you quit?” Instead, employers can pose more targeted questions to yield better responses: “What prompted your job search?” or “What does your new employer offer that we did not?”
Set a goal to learn about the organization’s culture
Aside from understanding why the employee is choosing to leave, gather information and feedback on the company’s culture and business practices. Ask questions about the employee’s satisfaction with his or her peers, career path and culture at the company.
Interview retirees, too
Often overlooked, retirees have valuable information and vast knowledge about his or her organization. They’re also more likely to be candid with their feedback, as they won’t be concerned with potential backlash. Questions you could ask to uncover more information about your company include, “Tell me about the core skill sets needed to succeed here,” and “What were the three best things about working here?”
Employers should remember that exit interviews can prove as useful as hiring procedures. Done correctly, exit interviews can improve company culture, hasten the vacant role filling process and improve employee retention.