As an employer you will see your fair share of employees come and go during the course of your career. When an employee does voluntarily part ways, you may have the chance to conduct an exit interview and gain valuable feedback from the departing employee in regards to your company.
By learning about what your soon-to-be-former-employees did and did not like about working at your company, this insight can help guide your business in the right direction and improve retention rates and job satisfaction.
Of course, things can go sour if neither you nor the departing employee are prepared for the exit interview. Find out how to ask the right questions and ensure the exit interview process is beneficial for you and your employees.
There are many reasons why it is a good idea to conduct an exit interview. These benefits extend to not just the company, but also the employee who may want to ‘get things off their chest’ and seek closure before they proceed to the next phase of their career.
Keep in mind that exit interviews are completely voluntary. If a departing employee does not feel comfortable with the idea, there should be no repercussions if they decide to refuse.
Below are some of the most common reasons to conduct an employee exit interview:
Most exit interviews are conducted in the privacy of an office or spare room. Generally they are one-on-one discussions between the leaving employee and employer or a HR staff member. For the purpose of privacy, if HR conducts the interview they may collect results from multiple exit interviews and share the feedback anonymously with the employer.
Unlike a job interview or intervention, the employee in question is not competing with other candidates or being investigated for misconduct, so you don’t need to follow a formal structure or checklist. By keeping the process casual and relaxed, this will help the employee feel at ease and be more willing to provide honest feedback.
Try having the exit interview leading up to the employee’s last day. But don’t suggest having the interview on their actual last day. At this point, the employee may be stressed and will want to bid farewell to close friends and colleagues.
Have the employee exit interview take place in a quiet and comfortable room that is free of distractions. Start the session with some casual dialogue to help the employee feel relaxed and eager to chat. Avoid jumping straight into the questions. If you do, the employee may feel like they are being interrogated and immediately put their guard up.
Keep in mind some employees may be unwilling to answer the questions truthfully, particularly if they are concerned about burning bridges or compromising their chances of future employment elsewhere. Gently remind the employee there will be no consequences for giving honest answers in the exit interview, and the information will be used to improve the quality of the business.
Depending on your personal preference, you can give the departing employee an exit interview form to fill out, which contains multiple choice and short answer questions to complete. This can be used to complement the face-to-face meeting or serve as the entire exit interview itself.
The exit interview is your last chance to have a meaningful discussion with a departing employee. For this reason, you want to ask the right questions and end the employment relationship on a positive note.
Think about the kind of questions you want to ask and the outcomes you want to achieve as a result. Stick to asking questions that relate to the circumstances of the person’s employment, their role in the company, and their personal opinion of the experience as a whole. Overall, the questions you ask should lead to answers that can be acted upon to improve certain aspects of the business.
Below is a template of exit interview questions you can ask. These only serve as a template so feel free to add, remove, or modify these questions to suit the needs of your business.