Exit Interviews – Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse of Your Organization

While there are numerous ways to engage employees and to solicit their feedback regarding the overall functioning of your organization, none has the possibility of garnering unvarnished opinions the way an exit interview can. Existing employees generally have too much at stake (e.g. job security, office politics, peer pressure, etc.) to be completely candid; however, employees who are departing your organization, whether by choice or circumstance, have no such concerns and they can be a wellspring of valuable information regarding the health of your company and the morale of your employees.

Some important tips when contemplating conducting exit interviews include:

  • Fine-tune the questions asked during the interview to ensure you elicit the information most critical to your company. These should include a combination of standard broad questions asked of all departing employees as well as questions tailored to the unique job function of the individual.
  • Ensure you have a system to track and regularly review the information gathered from all past, present and future exit interviews to screen for important trends. This provides invaluable information that allows you to build upon the strengths of your company and to isolate and address recurring problems.
  • Take the time to objectively distinguish between feedback representing the unique perspective of a specific employee and feedback that truly might be indicative of systemic issues that need to be addressed. Check to ensure that you are not subconsciously giving enhanced credence to feedback that supports your preexisting judgments and discounting feedback that runs contrary to your perceptions.
  • Develop a system for collecting and evaluating exit interview data to ensure important feedback information is communicated to the right people who have the authority and ability to integrate the feedback into future business operations.

Some of the key benefits of conducting exit interviews include:

  • Offers an opportunity to successfully capture and transfer useful knowledge and insights critical for improving interpersonal relationships, management development and work processes.
  • Provides constructive and relevant information that can inform future recruiting, training, on-boarding, and related employment processes.
  • Increases satisfaction and engagement among existing employees and reduces the likelihood of future turnover by demonstrating that you and your organization are receptive to feedback.
  • Presents an opportunity to retain valuable employees who might otherwise leave.

Have any exit interview tips you would like to share? We love hearing from our readers. Please leave your comments or suggestions below.

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