Exit interviews are important, and most companies today realize this. These conversations can reveal key information about the company that may help to enhance employee engagement and improve retention. Here are a few tips for effective exit interviews.
Make sure the interviewer is knowledgeable.
The interviewer should be trained in how to conduct an exit interview. They need to know what kinds of questions to ask and how to follow up, to explore lines of questioning and delve deeper into the person’s answers.
The interviewer should not be an employee of the company. The employee may feel uncomfortable talking about colleagues and supervisors and offering criticism to someone who works at the business and may know these people. If the interviewer is not employed by the company, the employee may not feel as awkward.
Wait until the person leaves the company.
Often companies will conduct the exit interview as the employee is wrapping things up during their final days; however, this is not the best time to question the person. They are probably under a lot of stress, trying to close things out with their work and saying goodbye to colleagues.
Wait a week or two until after the employee has left. This will help the interviewer to get a more relaxed and sober assessment from the person.
Keep everything confidential.
Let the person know all of their answers will be kept in the strictest of confidence and assure them they can answer honestly without fear. The interviewer can inform the person their answers will be aggregated with those from other people.
For the results of the exit interviews to have any validity, they must be as consistent as possible, and you must have as large a pool of people as possible so the answers will be a representative sample. For these reasons, interview everyone who leaves the company, and ask everyone the same questions.
The interviews should guide retention and engagement.
The most important question, obviously, is why the person is leaving. But you also want information that can help improve employee engagement. For this purpose, get the person’s opinion of company management, what they liked or didn’t like about the job; if they had the proper resources; if there were clear goals and expectations; whether there was enough feedback and professional development; and suggestions to improve the company.
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