Asking staff for their opinion about the organisation in surveys and meetings can give you valuable insight. But if you want a deeper understanding about problem areas and staff retention, you should be conducting exit interviews.
An exit interview is a discussion with a staff member who has resigned from the organisation. Asking the employee about their experience working there can help identify problem areas. Using the information gained in interviews, management can make changes to improve retention rates and level of engagement for current and future employees.
For little time and expense, exit interviews can provide valuable information that can’t be achieved through other communications with staff. As the person has already resigned, they may be more open and willing to share their honest reasons for leaving.
Exit interviews can lead to better staff retention rates. Asking an employee why they’re leaving can lead the organisation to change the way they recruit, promote, train and engage staff. Reducing the turnover rate means less time and money spent on training new staff and gives a business a tremendous advantage as they are keeping their top performers.
A staff member leaving an organisation is more likely to speak frankly about its shortcomings or management than someone who’s still employed. Even if you ask a current employee to give a confidential response to questions, they may hold back out of concern their responses could be traced back.
But some organisations aren’t conducting exit interviews, and valuable information isn’t being tapped. Other organisations do the interviews but don’t analyse the data, learn from it and make changes. As an organisation, you should review this data from the interview and measure the effectiveness with the positive changes you make.
You will want to ask ex-employees questions about areas of the business that can be changed to assist current and future employees. Exit interviews can give an invaluable insight into:
An exit interview should provide an excellent overview of the employee’s time with the organisation and how they feel about staff morale, culture of the organisation, management, and how the company could improve. An exit interview can also provide details of salary and benefits offered at competing organisations. Some questions you can ask ex-employees in an exit interview include:
The role of the best person to conduct exit interviews depends on the organisation. In a large company, a person from HR will often conduct the interview so the ex-employee can talk frankly about their manager or how their department functions. In a smaller organisation with no HR manager, the staff member’s manager, the business owner or colleague may conduct the interview.
Conducting an effective exit interview takes skill and practice. Not every manager feels comfortable holding their first few exit interviews and may feel they need training. HR should encourage interviewers to ask for help, if required.
Many organisations conduct exit interviews and gain valuable information but don’t know how to act on it to make positive improvements. PeopleSense by Altius’ Organisational Psychology services provide organisations with solutions across the employee life cycle, including outgoing employees.
If your organisation would like help with making the most of the information collected from outgoing employees, call Altius Group on 1300 307 912 or contact us online.