Exit interviews provide an ideal opportunity for employers to understand and improve employee experience within their organisation.
By taking the time to understand an employee’s reasons for leaving – particularly if the employee was a highly valued member of staff – an employer may be able to gain useful insight into talent attraction and retention. For the employee, exit interviews also provide a sense of closure and a chance to leave the working relationship on good terms.
Although informal, these meetings often shed light on areas for improvement, as employees who are leaving are often more willing to give honest feedback on their experience working for the company. Information gained from exit interviews can then be collated, giving the employer an opportunity to address any significant or common issues that crop up.
Conducting an exit interview
Exit interviews are typically conducted towards the end of an employee’s notice period. They should not be held by the employee’s line manager because they may well be reason for the employee’s departure and their presence could hinder honest feedback.
Employees are likely to feel more comfortable if the interview is conducted by somebody other than their immediate supervisor, such as a dedicated HR representative. There is also a growing number of businesses who are conducting online ‘alumni’ surveys, asking the employee to answer a set of questions once they have secured a new job role. This mitigates any risk that the employee is not providing honest feedback due to how it might affect their references,
In either case, the employer should explain the purpose of the interview and why it is a useful way to gather any constructive criticism the employee may have. It’s also important to reassure the employee that all feedback they give will be recorded anonymously in confidence.
The law behind exit interviews
Exit interviews are not a legal requirement; they are company policy.
If an employer wishes to conduct exit interviews wherever possible, they may choose to inform employees of this protocol by including a provision in their employment contract.
- Exit interviews often provide a useful opportunity for employers to tap into potential areas of improvement within the business.
- These informal meetings should be conducted by a HR representative, rather than the employee’s line manager or direct supervisor.
- If an employer is planning to conduct exit interviews as standard, they should make employees aware of this intention as soon as possible by including a provision in the employment contract.
The employee handbook is directly related to the following aspects of employment: