Exit interview – are they worth it?

Written by Andrea Frith

Exit interviews normally take place when someone leaves an institution or organisation. Most commonly they are used by employers to gather feedback on why the employee left and what it was like to work for their company.  This exercise should not just be a process and if done correctly it can be effective and offer some insight into how the working environment can improve.

If an exit interview is conducted correctly and the information gathered is then used to potentially make changes to the working environment it can work to improve:

  • Staff turnover
  • Recruitment techniques and employee engagement
  • Absenteeism
  • Staff retention

If exit interviews are being conducted to purely tick a box as a process has been established, this may create more issues than they solve. If it is believed that employees are listened to and changes are made on the back of the feedback, this can only be a positive. Many organisations may not conduct them at all, or do not analyse any of the data and subsequently follow up on any actions. 

Please see below some tips on how to conduct effective exit interviews and the necessary follow-up actions.

  • Try not to leave the interview/meeting right to the last day. It is important to be able to tap into the reasons for leaving whilst they are still fresh. It may be that there will be time to reverse the decision if you believe the employee is worth keeping.
  • Where possible get someone to conduct the interview that is removed from the employee, i.e., not their current line manager. Many employees may not want to share negative feedback with a “good boss” and may be over negative to a boss they may not have had a good relationship with. This may create a more subjective opinion and not provide facts that can be used to make improvements.
  • Ensure there are prepared questions that cover more than just salaries and benefits etc. It is important the meeting can cover all subjects and go beyond salary
  • Follow up. Gather the data, analyse and identify any reoccurring patterns. Make changes where necessary.

If the above tips are followed that the exit interview will be worthwhile. You may need to work on the engagement of the hiring manager and identify the benefits of following this through.

For any information on recruitment advice, please contact andrea.frith@pertemps.co.uk


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