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Exit Interview


As managers and leaders our success is a direct reflection of the success of our people. We are responsible to hire, coach and manage people who will succeed in their roles, who will grow with the company as they ultimately develop their career, At the end of the day, our success is their success. Therefore there is nothing more challenging or upsetting than having one of your team members resign. It is particularly tough if you don’t see it coming and you don’t have a grasp on why they are leaving.

What are Exit Interviews & Why?

An ‘exit interview’ is a structured process where the departing employee can openly discuss their reasons for leaving their job. They can review their employment history with the organization and smoothly and professionally work through transition details. Exit Interviews are designed to help management deter¬mine the actual reason behind a person’s detachment from the company. The exit interview can provide positive reinforcement of the company’s desire to remain in contact and to develop the relationship further regardless of their employment status.

The purpose of exit interviews includes:

  • Uncovering possible organizational issues
  • Managing transition
  • Managing relationships professionally
  • Providing feedback and suggestions on how to improve

Structuring Exit Interview

Don’t treat an exit interview in a casual manner or as a formality, ensure that it has a structure and purpose to it. Remember that the more you can find out about why an employee is leaving the more opportunity this gives you to make improvements to the organization to prevent further resignations.

  • Ensure Appropriate Staff Conduct the Interview
  • Guarantee Confidentiality
  • Timing: Arrange Exit Interviews in the Final Week of Employment
  • Don’t Get Defensive
  • Keep a Written Record
  • Summary

Benefits of Exit Interviews

  • They provide an opportunity to ‘make peace’ with disgruntled employees, who might otherwise leave with vengeful intentions.
  • Exit interviews are seen by existing employees as a sign of positive culture. They are regarded as caring and compassionate – a sign that the organization is big enough to expose itself to criticism.
  • Exit interviews accelerate participating managers’ understanding and experience of managing people and organizations. Hearing and handling feedback is a powerful development process
  • Exit interviews are an excellent catalyst for identifying specific mistakes and improvement opportunities in this vital area of management development and succession
  • Increasing Employee Retention Through Employee Exit Interview

Tips and checklist

  • Determine the most effective design of the Exit Interview which covers your bases on all sides of the issue.
  • Begin your Exit Interview with the most obvious question first: ask them why they are leaving
  • Realize that Exit Interviews should be conducted calmly, encouraging meaningful answers
  • Do not act shocked or become defensive when they tell you something you do not want to hear
  • Find out what would have made them stay – if anything

Well in a broader perspective, exit interviews provide information about overall management style of the company. An employee who is discharged may not be happy about it, and his or her comments will have a negative slant. But there’s usually plenty of truth to be learned as well. Exit is just as important as the procedures one uses while hiring. Handled in a professional way, exit practices can be constructive, useful and improve your work environment and above all add to retention

However, managing the process by right person, at right time, by asking right questions, processing and re¬sponding to the answers, and using the information to create necessary change one can convert exit interviews into one of the most valuable management tools that a company utilizes.

Click Here for a White Paper on Exit Interviews

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