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Good exit interviews can improve your workplace

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We recently wrote about the importance of having a good onboarding program. But what happens when one of your employees leaves for another job?

Losing an employee doesn’t have to be strictly negative. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about why members of your workforce want to go somewhere else and do something to ensure that it doesn’t become a trend. Replacing employees is expensive and often can be avoided with a little extra effort.

Consider these points when performing exit interviews.

Use a neutral party

Under no circumstances should the interview be conducted by the person’s supervisor. That’s a surefire way to get useless feedback, making the exercise a waste. If you have an HR person or department, have someone from that side conduct the interview. They are usually good listeners who are trained to ask the best questions to elicit good feedback. Be sure to stress that your talk is confidential.

Give the interview purpose

Schedule the session well in advance and leave an hour open for discussion. Provide an agenda or list of questions you want to cover. The employee’s last day is typically the best time to get honest answers. You could make it the last thing the person does before moving on to his or her new job.

Be happy for them

Losing good employees always hurts but that doesn’t mean you can’t be supportive. Congratulate the person and let the employee know that the company appreciates his or her contributions. It will set a good tone for the interview and you’ll increase the likelihood of receiving useful information.

Put the feedback to use

Document everything the person says and look for trends among other employees who have left your business. Has their boss seen good subordinates go elsewhere over the past year? Are several complaining about your benefits on the way out the door? Even if an exit interview becomes more of a venting session than you would like, there are still likely to be a few nuggets that can improve your organization. Of course, that’s what this process is all about.

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