An exit interview is a meeting with an appropriate person in your business and the employee who is about to leave. It is important to have the right person conduct the interview: the employee’s line manager may not be the best choice because it might be that the line manager is the reason for the departure.
You want to get the employee’s honest opinion about why they are leaving. Sometimes this may be a bitter pill to swallow but every employee who leaves presents lessons to be learned. Speaking to your employees will help you get a better understanding of what, from their perspective, makes working for someone else better than working for you.
You might not be unhappy to lose some staff because they don’t pull their weight, or because they are bad for workplace morale but there are likely to be some employees who are a credit to your company who you are sorry to see go. It is for the sake of this type of employee that you should try to solve the problems and make your organisation a better place to work. Although the employee will no longer be contributing to your business, the information they can give you may help you improve your recruitment and retention tactics in the future and decrease the churn of your good staff.
It is important that the employee understands the purpose of the ‘interview’ and that anything said during it will be kept confidential. You should use a set format and ask the same questions to every employee, keeping the questions open so that you can illicit as much information from the employee as possible. The employee may be leaving for reasons that are outside of your control e.g. their partner has a new job in a different area of the country and there isn’t much you can do about that. However, you should listen out for anything which indicates negativity about the working environment; workload; management style; pay and other terms and conditions etc because these are things that you do have an influence over.
Clearly, the comments on some employees may not hold any merit, however, you shouldn’t dismiss anything until you know whether they do or not.
Ensure you take notes of the meeting - a pro-forma helps you ensure you address every meeting in the same way - so that you can keep a record of the reasons for leaving. Doing some analysis to identify trends can help you identify the particular bits of the organisation that need to be reviewed.
If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.