Should I use exit interviews when my staff leave?

Should I use exit interviews when my staff leave?

July 10, 2015

When someone leaves your employment it is a very good idea if you can have an exit interview with them. That’s not always going to be possible.  After all not all leavers are voluntary!

Where someone is resigning from the employer, where they are giving you notice of their leaving, you should ask them to attend an exit interview. The best person to conduct the exit interview may be the line manager, but may not be depending on the reasons for leaving.  If you know the do not get on with the line manager, an alternative person would be better, perhaps they would be more honest with someone neutral conducting the interview.

I recommend you sit down with the employee, during their working hours, with a drink and go through your interview questions. In the interview focus on what they enjoyed about their employment, what would could have been done for them to stay (if anything), where they are going next, what made them look for alternative work.

Some employees are reluctant to advise you where they are going until you ask them.

We like the mnemonic WWW, EBI. This stands for What went well, even better if….. and can be very useful when you seek constructive feedback from your employee.

Bit of buyer beware though! Employers who use exit interviews will uncover; bullying behaviours, bias, discrimination and inequality. You need to be prepared to act on what you learn.

An exit interview will be best ‘face to face’ and are effective when a number of set questions are asked of the employee and notes taken as to the responses.  The value is in the face to face. It shouldn’t feel like an interrogation.

If an exit interview is not appropriate face to face, then an exit interview questionnaire can be useful. These ask the employee to respond to questions about their employment and reasons for leaving.

We would recommend that you keep statistics on leavers, including how many leavers you have in a year, how many had less than 1 year service when they left, the reasons given for leaving. Codes can help here. We have previously used a system where the employee could identify the top three reasons from a list of codes. For example if you asked if there leaving for ‘more money’, another code may be ‘lack of promotion’, or ‘lack of training & development.’

You may not get a big percentage of responses back to the exit interview questionnaire, and those you do receive could be tainted by bad feeling, but feedback is feedback and always worth receiving.

For any assistance with your Exit Interview Questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

If you would like assistance with this or any other aspect of HR or employment law please contact us on T: 01527 909436


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