From the employer’s perspective, the number one purpose of the exit interview is to learn and analyze the reasons for the employee’s departure, based on the premise that criticism is a helpful driver for organizational development. Good exit interviews should yield useful facts about the organization in terms of evaluating and improving all elements of the work environment, culture, systems and processes, management, development, et cetera.
Many employers overlook the opportunity that exit interviews offer; chiefly because exit interviews are often skipped, and starting them is a tough initiative to undertake, given the potentially subjective and ‘fuzzy’ nature of the results; the time involved to conduct them effectively; and the unspoken corporate wish to avoid criticism at all costs.
Exit interviews are nevertheless a unique opportunity for firms to analyze the opinions of departing personnel, who are generally more forthcoming, constructive, and objective than staff staying with the firm. In leaving an organization, departing employees feel liberated, and as such, departing employees offer a richer source of objective feedback than employed staff when responding to the typical staff attitude surveys.
Following are the ‘sample’ queries to consider for your Exit Interview Strategy:
- What triggered you to look for a new job initially?
- What is the core reason that prompted you to resign?
- Was a single event responsible for your decision to leave us? If so, what was it?
- What did your new firm offer you that encouraged you to accept their offer?
- The quality of supervision is important to most people at work. How was your relationship with your manager?
- How was your relationship with your co-workers and assigned team leader?
- What could your team leader do to improve his or her management style and skill sets?
- What did you enjoy most about your job here?
- What did you dislike about your job? What would you change about the job’ tasks and expectations?
- Were your job responsibilities outlined accurately during the interview process and orientation?
- Do you feel you had the tools, resources, and support necessary to perform your job effectively? If not, what was missing?
- We try to be an employee-oriented firm where our employees experience positive morale and motivation. What is your experience of the employee morale and motivation within our firm?
- Did you receive adequate feedback about your performance day-to-day, and in the performance review processes?
- Did the management of the firm care about and help you accomplish your personal, professional development, and career goals?
- What would you recommend to help us create a better workplace?
- What are the key qualities and skill sets we should be looking for in your replacement?
- Do you have any recommendations on our compensation, benefits, and other reward & recognition programs?
- Can you offer any other comments that will help us to understand why you are leaving, how we can improve, and what we can do to become a better, and more attractive firm to work with?
- Would you recommend our firm as a good place to work to your friends and family?
- What would make you consider working for this firm again in the future?
Naturally, you will want to end the exit interview on a positive note. Commit to using the information provided to improve your workplace, and thank the employee for all of his or her contributions to the firm. Wish the employee well and much success in their new endeavor. In this way, you are closing the interview with grace, while leaving the participants with a positive mental image of the exit interview experience.