Unprecedented numbers of employees are leaving for greener pastures, which means that hiring and retaining staff in today’s economy is an increasingly fundamental and vexing challenge for employers in various industries. As workers head for the exits, it is wise for companies to conduct exit interviews. This meeting can shed light on why an employee is leaving, yet it also can highlight your organization’s shortcomings. This, in turn, may provide insight into improving employee retention in the future.
Seize this rare opportunity
The exit interview is a rare opportunity for managers, human resources staff and others to get honest feedback. It may be because the employee is unconcerned about their standing at the company, or they know that they do not face other repercussions from their honest feedback.
Important questions to ask
The straight shooter may ask the exiting employee: Why are you leaving? However, a nuanced set of questions can provide a more significant and detailed picture:
What prompted you to apply for other positions or interview with other companies?
The employee’s answers may shed light on how to make the company more attractive and prevent future departures for remaining employees.
Did your manager give you what you needed to be successful at your job?
A manager’s job includes providing feedback and support so staff can excel at their jobs. The exiting employee’s answer may lead to a conversation with the manager about how to improve their performance.
What were the best and worst parts of your job?
Focus on the positive highlights to market the position when searching for a replacement.
Do you feel that the needs of the job changed over time?
If the departing employee reports that their role changes over time, the company may need to update the job description, or reassess whether the position can be filled internally through a reorganization.
Did you believe that the company acknowledged your work during your time here?
Recognition is an essential part of the modern-day employee experience. It motivates employees to excel, fuels productivity, and creates a more supportive workplace.
Is there anything that could have changed your decision to leave?
This question can often get to the heart of their reasons for leaving and may offer solutions for hiring and retention. Comments such as “more flexibility,” “working from home,” or “flex hours” may spur internal conversations about changing company policies.
Following up is also key
Answers to any question may deserve a follow-up question, such as: “Can you give a specific example?” It can help the company better understand the answers and perhaps provide topics for later discussions with their managers. It also allows them to feel that they were heard and may even lead to rehiring down the line or recommendations to other potential hires.