Developing Effective Exit Interviews
Often exit interview programs falls short of their intended goal, that of improving employee retention or gathering information that the company can use going forward.
Exit Interview Flaws
Exit interviews miss the mark for two reasons. First, the quality of the information is suspect. If exit interviews are to be effective the employee who is leaving needs to be honest and upfront about their experience and their reasons for going.
But people may not be completely honest for a number of different reasons. They may not be motivated enough to have a really forthright discussion. Or they may be reluctant to criticize their supervisor or working conditions.
The second reason is a lack of information about the best way to conduct these types of interviews. Surveys have shown that exit interviews are not all that effective in generating positive change in a company. Most companies don’t do anything with the information from these interviews.
Human resource experts say that a good exit interview program should give the company information about what their employees are focused on, problems that exist at the business, and the company’s competition
A good exit interview should reveal any issues related to human resources. It should elicit information about a job’s design, working environment, company culture, managers’ leadership and effectiveness, and competitors’ salary and benefits. Moreover, interviewers should use the opportunity to question the employee about ways to improve the company.
At most companies, a human resource representative conducts the interview, but these are too important for only HR to be involved. Other managers need to participate also.
Exit interviews are most effective if conducted by managers that are one or two steps above the employee’s direct supervisor. These managers tend to get more honest opinions from the employee because the managers are not directly involved with the person.
Another effective way to conduct these interviews is to hire an outside consultant. This offers several advantages — these people have more expertise in conducting these types of interviews, they are unbiased and are not as intimidating to the employee.
The interview should be conducted face to face. It should be a combination of prepared questions that are given to every person who is leaving, and also a more casual, informal conversation because this often reveals more wide ranging, thoughtful perceptions about the company.