Getting the Most Out of an Exit Interview
No one wants to see a good employee go. While you have the option of countering a new offer, typically it’s only a matter of time before the employee will be looking for the door. Before they leave, determine what made this individual an important part of the organization.
Ask the Source
While it may be tempting to close the door on this employee’s chapter, don’t waste the opportunity to learn from the individual themselves. There were reasons why they chose the organization and a reason why they are taking their talents elsewhere.
- Do an Exit Interview – An exit interview should result in more than a list of things to fix. Let the exit interview tell an important story about the job role, the manager, employee groups and the company. Knowing, understanding and quickly acting on this information can create great rewards throughout the company. It has the potential to improve employee engagement, enhance retention with existing employees, gather intel about a competitor’s salary and benefits and even turn a former employee into an ambassador for the company, according to a LinkedIn Business article.Treat it as an exploratory conversation and not a grilling session. Conduct the interview soon after the employee gives notice so that they are not yet “checked out” and make this interaction a positive one.
- Share the News – No one likes to be the last to know and this is especially true when a team member leaves. Waiting to share the news or trying to spin the situation doesn’t do anybody any favors. Start by telling the team first. Allow them to digest the news and find out if they view their co-worker leaving as something negative. Leaving the issue up in the air can quickly become fodder for the gossip machine.Many times, a departure is automatically viewed as more work for those left behind. Make it clear how the work will be redistributed and share the timeline for a new hire, if applicable. Above all, listen to the team and show support.
- Be Proactive with Existing Good Performers – Use this time to get the thoughts of other top performers still at the company. Dubbed “Stay Interviews” by LinkedIn, these interviews demonstrate that the company is listening to the needs of top performers by creating an environment where people can share. Issues such as poor management, lack of challenge and employee engagement are not easy topics to talk about, particularly if employees fear repercussions from management for speaking their mind.Ask what challenges make the job worthwhile, what are their goals for advancement and what would be their dream job/role.
Keeping top performers happy and engaged is extremely cost-effective and reduces time spent hiring. Plus, the grass isn’t always greener and there’s always the possibility a star employee might return as a boomerang employee.