How to Use Employee Exit Interviews to Improve Your Business

by Michael Haberman on December 4, 2017 · 0 comments


Exit interviews are not used nearly enough in the termination process.

We are starting the week with a guest post from writer Ashley Wilson. An exit interview is a valuable tool that very often is not used, especially in smaller companies. Ms. Wilson gives us some excellent tips for their proper use.

All employees will eventually leave your company. Some will move onto a position with another company and others may decide to start their own business. Any time an employee leaves your company, you have the incredible opportunity to obtain unbiased feedback about your work environment and company through an exit interview.

However, many companies fail to conduct effective exit interviews. They allow employees to resign and walk out the door without learning anything about their circumstances and experiences. An exit interview is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about your business so that improvements can be made. If you are ready to start implementing exit interviews, explore these helpful tips first.

Exit Interview Best Practices

While there is no wrong way to conduct an exit interview, there are some practices that could yield improved results. For example, when possible, set up an in-person exit interview. This may be more productive and yield more honest answers. An alternative is to use a written survey. This is most suitable when your employee works remotely. A written survey gives employees the opportunity to think through their answers, and they may enjoy the ability to prepare answers. However, on your end, be aware that written answers are not always as candid and honest as verbal answers provided in a live interview.

Think through your exit interview questions carefully, and prepare questions based on the information that could help you to more fully improve your business. Explain the purpose of an exit interview to your employees. While you may take some answers at face value and act immediately to improve processes, you could also track the answers so that you can spot trends. Trends that are causing employees to leave should be properly addressed so that you can improve the work environment.

Insights Into Recruiting

Some information that you obtain during an exit interview could help with your recruiting practices. For example, you can learn what aspects of the work environment individuals enjoyed, and you can hype these aspects up when recruiting new team members.

Through an exit interview, you can also learn about whether the position lived up to expectations that they had on day one. If not, understand where the position or work environment fell short so that improvements can be made going forward. While this cannot help you to retain current talent, it could help you to retain future talent that you are actively recruiting.

A Chance to Learn About Managers’ Leadership Styles

You may think that the managers in charge of your departments are performing excellently, but the insight provided in exit interviews can be eye-opening. For example, some employees may tell you that they do not like being micro-managed or that managers play favorites. In fact, poor management is the number one reason why employees quit.

Remember that resigning employees have nothing to lose by speaking the truth. However, some may be spiteful because of circumstances they experienced, and may not always tell the truth. When you learn more about your managers from exit interviews, make plans to observe managers in action in different ways. If you can corroborate what you have learned in an exit interview, you should take action to remedy the situation.

Feedback on Training Opportunities and Resources

Some employees leave a position because they felt like they did not have the proper resources to do their job right. Others leave because they were not advancing in their career or learning new skills. Remember that employees want to see skills development, educational opportunities, raises and promotions from time to time.

Employees also need the right tools so that they can be more efficient. Regularly, you should observe your team members in action. Pay attention to repetitive tasks that may be taking up too much of their time. Look for technological tools and resources that can help your employees feel supported. This can extend to business software, office supplies, and more.

Use the Data

You may gather an exceptional amount of data during an exit interview. It is important that you act on some of the responses to get the best possible results. However, you also need to gather and review the data periodically over time. Understanding trends is important, so you must be able to analyze the data effectively.

Remember that your ability to make changes based on exit interview feedback can show other employees that you care about their experiences and are open to making positive changes that benefit them.

Conclusion

If you are not currently conducting exit interviews, you can see that this should be remedied soon. If you are conducting exit interviews, focus on the questions that you are asking as well as your response to the information that you are receiving. Ideally, you will use the data to make immediate as well as long-term changes.

Author bio: Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. Connect with Ashley via Twitter.


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