3 min read

How to Conduct an Exit Interview for Your Organization

One of your jobs as a business owner or manager is to create a pleasant working environment for your employees. So, when a person decides to leave your organization, the news can sometimes come as a shock. However, you can learn a lot from your soon-to-be former employees – you just need to ask the right questions. 

Exit interviews are a great way to find out how your employees feel about your business, but only if you conduct them thoughtfully and carefully. Today let’s talk about how to conduct an ideal exit interview. 

What is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is a meeting between an employee who is leaving the company and a manager, member of HR, or business owner. During this meeting, your job is to find out why the employee is leaving and gain feedback from the employee about how to improve the workplace. 

Exit interviews are very important for an organization’s corporate culture. If done well, an exit interview can help you understand your company’s weaknesses in the eyes of your employees. This can help you increase engagement, which in turn can increase company loyalty and attract top talent in the industry!

Who Should Conduct an Exit Interview?

In most cases, someone from the HR team or a third-party organization conducts an employee exit interview. This is preferable to someone the employee worked with closely (for example, the employee’s own manager), as the representative can act as an unbiased third party. Your employee is more likely to share grievances they have with management style, working conditions, or other issues within the organization when they aren’t talking directly to their former boss.

How to Prepare for the Interview

If you are tasked with conducting an exit interview, it’s important to spend some time preparing in advance. Here are a few tips that can help you have a successful interview and gain some valuable insights from your outgoing employee.  

Write Questions Ahead of Time

Firstly, it is vital to plan your questions before you sit down for the interview. Make sure you have several questions written down and ready, including questions like:

  • Why did you start looking for a new job?
  • What does the new position offer that encouraged you to leave?
  • Would you ever consider returning to this company?
  • How would you describe our company culture?
  • What could we have done better to keep you here? 

Remember, exit interviews are largely for the benefit of you and your organization. Don’t be afraid to ask straightforward questions and to really discuss things with your employee. The more questions you ask, the more likely you are to learn something that can change your organization for the better.  

Keep the Interview Balanced

It’s often tempting to focus on the negatives in an exit interview. After all, your employee is leaving – they must have hated working for you, right? 

Not always. Sometimes, an employee simply gets a better opportunity or decides to find a company that more closely aligns with their values. In fact, many employees may have a lot of positive things to say in their exit interview! Make sure to ask about the positives and negatives the employee experienced at the company so you can have a complete picture.

Find out What Others Think

When an employee leaves a company, he or she often mentally “checks out” before their final day in the office. This can present a unique challenge during exit interviews, as the interviewee may not be interested in giving detailed feedback. In this situation, it can be valuable to ask your employee what their coworkers think about them leaving. 

A team’s response to one member leaving can tell you a lot about workplace culture. Are the employee’s colleagues concerned about their workload with one fewer person? Do they support and encourage the employee in their new endeavor? Are they looking to leave themselves? 

These questions can help you learn a lot about your workplace environment. However, it is important to note that this is not an opportunity to indulge in office gossip; that kind of behavior is never productive or useful in an exit interview.

Consider an Exit Survey

Some employees may not be comfortable doing an exit interview. As a result, they may only give you surface-level answers to your questions or avoid answering them altogether. Therefore, you might want to offer a written survey in addition to your in-person exit interview. Some employees may prefer to write out their thoughts about the company, or they may want to fill out the survey in the weeks after leaving if they think of more information, they’d like to share with you. 

No matter how you conduct your exit interviews, the most important thing you can use is use the information you receive to make positive changes in your organization. This might mean better training, more efforts for inclusivity and engagement, or any other changes that can make your workplace better for everyone. 

Contact ComplianceLine today to see how we can help your organization improve. 

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