The Value of Exit Interviews

April 14, 2015

Although often thought of as an afterthought, exit interviews can play an extremely valuable role in the growth of a company.  There are a variety of reasons to conduct exit interviews with departing employees, but each can contribute to the improvement of your business in one shape or another. The following are some of the benefits of exit interviews:

  • Gain a better understanding about what works well at your company, and what needs improvement 

  • Learn how to increase productivity out of the departing employee’s position 

  • Solicit feedback on your competitive standing in the marketplace, including salary, benefits packages and rewards programs

  • Identify problem areas and ways to minimize workplace conflict

  • Allow a discharged employee to “let off steam” and potentially lower the likelihood of a lawsuit

  • Document their reason for leaving, just in case they come back with a different one later

  • Reduce turnover

Who Should Conduct the Exit Interview
The person in charge of the exit interview at your company may depend on considerations like your size, the nature of the termination, and the skills of your various employees.  Typically, the interview is conducted by a manager, supervisor or your HR personnel.  Some companies do not conduct exit interviews of involuntarily terminated employees.  Although the emotions associated with an involuntary termination can make an exit interview difficult, these meetings may also shed light on ways to prevent a termination in the future.

  • Employers with set procedures and less interest in a conversational meeting with the employee (i.e., limiting employee feedback to a questionnaire) may only have their human resources representative conduct the exit meeting. 

  • Employers interested in structural feedback, such as ways to improve the productivity of the position, may want a manager or direct supervisor to conduct the interview or be present.

  • Unique circumstances may call for a different game plan.  Management knows the makeup of its workforce better than any one set of rules.  Thus, if you have a manager or supervisor (perhaps yourself) who is particularly skilled in defusing conflict or making a positive connection with staff, selecting this person to conduct the exit interview may achieve better results.  

Where to Conduct the Exit Interview
If possible, employers should have the exit interview conducted in person, which will most likely occur in the workplace.  However, the meeting should take place in a private space where the departing employee can feel comfortable that the conversation will be and remain confidential.

 

What to Cover During the Exit Interview
Topics to cover during exit interviews include:

  • The reasons for the employee’s departure; 

  • The departing employee’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with corporate compensation, benefits, and working conditions;

  • Problems an employee may have had balancing personal and work life;

  • Problems an employee may have had with co-workers or managers;

  • Whether the employee feels he or she was treated fairly;

  • Changes employees would choose to make in their jobs;

  • Whether employees feel the supervision and training they received were satisfactory; and

  • Whether employees feel they had adequate opportunities for career development and advancement.

Employers Stay Organized and Ready for the Exit Interview with Granite's Exit Interview Checklist - Voluntary Termination and Exit Interview Checklist for Involuntary Termination.

 

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