Exit Interviews May Have A Hidden Purpose
An exciting study provides a unique perspective from a before unresearched benefit of exit interviews. Plus, based on a new theory, exit interviews could leave one last good impression on departing employees. With the help of a good exit interview, there are high chances that the company can benefit from a long-term relationship with an employee that no longer works there.
Glassdoor research revealed that three-quarters of job seekers want jobs with brands that have a good reputation. An impressive 86% of people wouldnt work for a company with a bad reputation.
An exit interview often helps companies part on good terms with employees, meaning they may get good reviews from them. Therefore, employers improve their chances of hiring top talent.
The Ideal Exit Interview Survey Length Is Between 36 And 60 Questions
One of the biggest reasons why departing employees decide not to take an exit interview is when they feel the process will take too long. Studies have shown that the right amount of an exit interview survey has between 34 and 60 questions.
Less than 34 questions may not provide a lot of data to research. Anything more than 60 questions will make employees feel uncomfortable. That will also lead to them not completing their exit interview.
So, any company that wants to get relevant information and not exhaust the person taking the exit interview should consider asking a number of questions within this range.
Sample Employee Exit Interview Questions: What Should You Be Asking
Even though exit interviews can feel a bit cold, when the right questions are asked, you can learn some valuable information and end the employees experience on a positive note. The way employees act when they leave a company says a lot about them. But how the company acts toward a departing employee also says a lot about the company. Its your final chance to leave them with a good impression of the company. Let these questions help guide the conversation.
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How To Use Exit Interviews To Improve Performance
Theres another, perhaps unexpected use for exit interviews: performance feedback. By sitting exiting employees down and finding out why people quit, youll be able to identify any flaws in your processes and what your systems could do with overhauling. Also, exit interviews give your human resources department valuable insights into how they can improve future performance management processes.
Here are some ways that exit interviews can pinpoint areas for improvement:
What Are The Goals Of An Effective Exit Interview
An effective exit interview yields valuable information:
- Formally closes the employee/employer relationship in a constructive and helpful way
- Provides first-hand employee experience data and actionable insights on their environment, team, management, role, and company culture.
- Discovers if the former employee would promote your organization to other people in the
- Understands why they chose to leave, so you can see how this aligns with your companys attrition risk profile.
- Identifies any issues or areas within the business that need
The exit interview survey format is commonly used to make the best use of remaining time and support flexibility for a mobile, remote or international workforce.
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Example Questions The Managers
An employees relationship with their manager can have a huge impact on their engagement and job satisfaction. Trusting your manager to follow up on what they say helps support a good working relationship.
An employees upwards feedback can help strengthen the management of your replacement hire. It can also highlight when to explore training options or review performance levels.
Employees that receive constructive feedback and are able to suggest ideas back can feel valued and supported. As they progress in their role, employees feel greater job satisfaction.
Why Outsourced Interviews Are Better Than In
- They are a more effective way to get honest and complete information only an external party can provide assurance of ‘safety net’ needed to hear a difficult or negative feedback
- Time saving for HR department as a lot of time is spent in conducting exit interviews, logistics, data recording and report filing for each case
- Exited employees perceive their organizations in positive manner for having invested in a specialist external exit interview process to get genuine information.
- An exit interview creates a sense of ‘fair departure’ to the employee and very useful as organizations are looking more and more to re-hire ex-employees back in the company
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Who Should Conduct The Exit Interview
Exit interviews work best when they are conducted by a neutral third party rather than an employees direct manager. That is why the human resources department is often responsible for conducting the interview. That way, the employee will feel more comfortable about sharing honest feedback without fear of any repercussions.
You might decide to outsource your exit interviews to a third party in order to make the process even more objective. However, this will obviously come at a cost. It will also be harder for you to ensure that the right questions are asked as you will have less control over the process. Another option is to ask a manager from a different department to conduct the interview. However, this might be risky if the manager is not aware of the roles, duties and expectations of the employee.
Generally speaking, considering all the above, someone from your HR department will usually be the best person to conduct an exit interview. This gives you the right balance of neutrality and control so that you can ask the right questions and so that the employee feels comfortable and can be honest about their experience of you as an employer.
The State Of Exit Interviews
Too often EI programs fail to either improve retention or produce useful information. Weve identified two reasons why. The first is data quality. The usefulness of an EI depends utterly on the honesty and forthrightness of the departing employee. People may be less than candid on their way out the door for many reasons. Some feel pressed for time or unmotivated to explore their feelings. They may not want to say anything negative about a supervisor they like, or anything at all about a supervisor they dont like. As one HR leader at a European mining company puts it, Are they really going to tell you theyre leaving because they dont like their boss? Probably not, because they want references.
The second reason is a lack of consensus on best practices. The goals, strategies, and execution of EI programs vary widely, and the findings and recommendations from empirical studies are often vague or conflicting. But in our view, the deepest problem is that many organizations use EI programs as an excuse not to have meaningful retention conversations with current employees.
To get a clearer sense of the state of EI processes and outcomes, in 2012 and 2013 we surveyed 188 executives and interviewed 32 senior leaders. They represented 210 organizations in 33 industries, headquartered in more than 35 countries. Many interviewees were personally responsible for leading the exit process at their companies, and some reported on their own experience of leaving an organization.
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How To Gain Maximum Insight From Exit Interviews And Surveys
But What If You Want To Air Your Grievances
If you are leaving a job because you feel disgruntled with management or you feel like you were treated unfairly, its natural to want to voice your feelings. However, what will you gain in doing so?
There may be ethical considerations if the companys safety procedures are putting others at risk, and you may want to bring that to the attention of human resources. However, the chances are they already know and are choosing to do nothing about it.
Companies with a healthy corporate culture seek input from their staff before they leave through 360-degree reviews, anonymous surveys, and other communication and feedback strategies. Frankly, the only thing that will result from your honesty in an exit interview is that you will be considered a whiner, perhaps not a good fit for the job, and you might win a poor reference from your employer in the future.
If you still want to air grievances, do so after you have obtained a written reference. There is a chance that a potential new employer who has a written reference will not reach out again to your old employer.
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Purpose Of Exit Interviews
Conducting a thorough exit interview is an essential part of the offboarding process. Essentially it serves three main purposes.
Firstly, it helps you identify which areas of your company you can improve in order to enhance your employee experience and retain more talent.
Secondly, it can help you create a positive final impression of your company so that employees feel happy when they leave, helping to boost your employers reputation.
Thirdly, in some cases, you might find that you are able to address specific issues and encourage employees not to leave.
Obviously, this third point would only apply to employees who have handed in their notice. If you lay off or terminate an employees contract, then you will need to take a slightly different approach. For instance, you will need to hold a dismissal meeting and issue a termination letter. This will ensure you fire employees the right way.
Ultimately, the main purpose of exit interviews is to find out as much as you can about the impressions your employees have of you and why they are leaving. And this is especially important with global turnover rates rising so sharply as an effect of The Great Resignation. By collecting as many opinions and suggestions for improvement as possible, you can identify what you need to change in order to retain as many quality employees as possible.
Are You Conducting Proper Exit Interviews
Information from this article was taken from the Standard Document Model Exit Interview Questionnaire, one of more than 65,000 resources in Thomson Reuters Practical Law.
Employees part ways with employers for any number of reasons, but savvy employers take advantage of the farewell process by learning what they might do better. When done properly, exit interviews help employers learn about staff satisfaction, identify latent legal issues, inquire into possible restrictive covenant problems, ensure the return of property, and understand reasons for the departure.
So what steps should employers take to ensure they are making the most of an exit interview? Here are some issues to consider. For additional guidance, refer to the standard document in Practical Law.
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How To Air Your Grievances
When you present your grievance in an exit interview, do so without emotion and without imposing your opinion. Simply state the facts and give specific examples. That way, you will be taken more seriously. Give suggestions for improvement if you can, there is always the chance that they may be introduced.
Be prepared, however, to be asked why you didnt bring up these points before you decided to leave. Thats a valid question, and one that you should have a good response for.
Also, think of the consequences of what you are saying. You might be jumping ship, but your work colleagues are not. Dont put them in an awkward position by spilling the beans and revealing information detrimental to them.
What Is An Exit Interview
An exit interview, or exit survey, taken at the end of an employees time with you is the best way to find out why people leave your organization. You can identify trends, learn from them, and take action to reduce attrition, such as more robust hiring strategies for new employees or improvements to your company culture and management styles.
Its a chance to learn from former employees experiences the good and the bad. The process can be conducted face to face, using forms, or with an exit interview survey.
What Would Need To Change For You To Consider Working Here Again In The Future
This question sounds similar to the earlier question, What were the main reasons you decided to take this new job offer? but its different for a few reasons.
First, you pose this question to make it clear that there is no ill will.
It makes it clear that the exit interview is a sincere attempt to learn why the employee left and how the company can keep employees like them in the future.
Second, this question makes it clear that the employee can always come back.
Smart companies maintain a relationship with departing top performers, so they can potentially re-recruit them down the road.
In some cases, this works to the companys benefit since that employee returns with deeper insights about the market and competitors.
If an employee says that a more collaborative work culture, more flexibility in terms of work hours, or more challenging opportunities are important for them, then this information informs re-recruitment efforts down the road.
Third, it reduces the likelihood that an employee will be a negative brand ambassador for the company.
Like attracts like, which means top performers likely know other top performers.
If departing top performers advise people in their network not to apply to your company, it can seriously impact your ability to attract top talent.
Most Exit Interviews Are Done During The Employees Last Week In The Company
Researchers have discovered that most exit interviews are conducted during the last week of the departing employees time in the company. That is the most common practice, but according to the research, its not the most effective. The closer the departing employee is to the end of his tenure, the more checked out mentally they will be.
To gather more information, an exit interview should be taken halfway between the announcement to leave and the departure. If this is not possible, it can also be done after the employee has left the company. Even a month later would give better results than during the last week of the departing employees time in the company.
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How Was Your Relationship With Your Manager
If your manager was not the greatest, it might be tempting to say something negative. Dont. Companies are usually aware of bad managers, human resources probably already has a thick file of complaints, and your input will not make any difference. A good way to answer this question is to be honest if the relationship was good. If it was bad, lie, or say, It was as good as could be expected.
Sample Answer:My manager and I had a good working relationship. I appreciated their leadership efforts considering the limited resources and time constraints.
What Were The Main Reasons You Decided To Take This New Offer
Its normal for employees to peek at other job postings or brush up their resume, even when theyre happy. This is par for the course for ambitious professionals.
What your team wants to understand is what caused them to go from researching the market to putting themselves on the job market.
A proper understanding of these factors helps you have more effective retention conversations with your existing workforce, also known as stay interviews.
For instance, was the departing employee dissatisfied with their potential career progression within the organization?
Is the new role a lateral move, or is it a step up from their current role?
If a because they didnt see a role for themselves at the company, thats a sign that your organization needs to revisit its career development plans.
Did your employee leave because the new organization was offering them a higher salary?
Its time to consider why that employee didnt feel comfortable asking for a raise, or if they did, why it wasnt given.
Recruiting for a highly skilled employee is often more expensive than simply coughing up the money a deserving employee wants.
You may also learn that something incredibly simple caused your employee to look elsewhere.
A regional director of sales for a multinational company learned that his top performer took a job elsewhere, because he wanted to leave the office in time to pick up his kids from school.
The director only learned this information after the employee took a new job.
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How To Conduct A Successful Exit Interview
Different exit surveys will gather different types of valuable feedback. Some ask for direct feedback on the persons manager while others just ask about the role and reasons for leaving.
If an exit survey isnt clear to interpret you may want to consider redesigning your survey
Exit interviews should also allow you to dissect data by performance levels, tenure, and role.
Unlike an engagement survey, where you deal with constructs built around employee attitudes, an exit survey should be much more practical and simple to design and interpret. If an exit survey isnt clear to interpret you may want to consider redesigning your survey.
It can be useful to include a few open text fields in your survey too often they elicit rich detail and nuances about an employees decision to leave compared to multiple-choice questions.
While historically these have been difficult to turn into insights, text analytics software can process language and sentiment analysis to allow you to automatically analyze many thousands of open-text responses.
This then creates topics, themes, and trends to allow you to spot patterns and interpret the data.