One of your best employees requests you for a one-on-one meeting and says, “Hey Charlie, I wanted to talk to you about something very important. I have been thinking of quitting my job here lately. So I’d like to give notice that my last day will be __ ”. Once you get over the unexpected shock, what’s the next step? No, we are not talking about recruiting new talent.
Be it getting employees on board or letting go of employees, there is a need for a formal procedure. Employees cannot just walk up to you, drop their resignation papers, and leave. You need to plan a proper exit interview before the employee leaves the organization.
What is an Exit Interview?
An exit interview is a personal survey conducted with an employee who is departing the organization. This interview should be ideally conducted a day before they leave. One of the main reasons to conduct the interview is employee retention.
There are various reasons why exit interviews are important for an organization.
1. Retaining Existing Employees
One of the most important reasons why exit interviews are important is retaining employees. When an employee is leaving an organization, they can feel free to answer your questions about their basic concerns at the workplace. Utilize this to find out the answer to a few important questions like
Why do you want to quit?
Is there anything we could have done to make you stay?
Were you able to communicate well with your manager?
The answers to these questions help you recognize the actual concerns of the employee. They also help you understand if there’s any pattern for employee resignation.
2. Gathering Useful Insights
Sometimes, regular employee surveys cannot give you accurate insights about your organization. Mostly because the answers are biased based on the fact that employees still belong to your organization. Exit interviews can help you gain useful insights about things that are difficult to gather during regular surveys.
Here are the sample questions:
Is our organizational culture Welcoming?
What are the three areas where the company / your manager needs improvement?
Were the resources you needed for your job easily accessible?
How consistently was your good work rewarded?
3. Uncovering Employee Conflicts If Any
As we said before, it is very hard to get a true sense of how employees feel about the company culture or about their coworkers when they are employed by you.
They might not have complained to you about their conflicts with their co-workers but that doesn’t mean that they are happy. Exit interviews help you uncover such conflicts between employees if any.
Here are the sample questions:
Would you recommend us to any of your friends looking for a job? Why or Why not?
Are there any unresolved issues that you want to share with us?
Do you want to give any additional comments?
4. Maintaining A Positive Work Culture
Exit interviews help you maintain positive workplace culture. When you treat the employees who are leaving the organization with respect and gratitude during exit interviews, it makes the existing employees feel positive about their workplace. This, in turn, helps them to stay focused and happily engaged at work.
Hence, if your organization is looking to boost employee retention, capitalizing on exit interview data is the way to go. Insights of employees leaving the organization will be useful in identifying the underlying issues and areas for improvement.
Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.