Exit Interviews

October 11, 2012

st employers know that conducting an exit interview with an employee who has resigned is a good idea. No company wants to lose valued and productive employees without knowing why. But exactly how an exit interview is facilitated will dictate the amount of useful information obtained.

For example, a resigning employee may be more willing to provide truthful, detailed information if he/she can simply perform the interview by answering a series of questions on a computer. The next best option is to have a neutral third party conduct the interview. Another option is to have a human resources employee handle the interview by phone. The theory is that the more anonymous or disconnected the resigning employee feels during the interview, the more accurate the responses will be.

The template for questions asked should be the same for each resigning employee. This will result in obtaining data that can easily be summarized and compared by management for the purpose of reducing turnover.

Exit interview questions should be framed to garner information on the following issues:

  • Effectiveness of immediate supervisor and/or department manager. Do the immediate supervisor and/or department manager have a style that is conducive to high morale? Do their ideas and decision making promote team building or lead to divisiveness?
  • Is there a pattern of valuable employees who are primary caregivers leaving due to lack of flexibility in their work schedule or lacks of telecommuting options?
  • Do resigning employees consistently cite a certain management policy as a reason for leaving?
  • Is there a trend in terms of whether resigning employees are over age 40 versus Generation X or Y?
  • Do most resigning employees fall into a certain performance bracket?
  • Do the majority of resigning employees perform the same or similar job duties?

The answers to these questions can help an employer determine if job descriptions should be modified, policies changed or management oversight should be increased. Don’t be left to wonder why a key or valued employee has given notice, exit interviews are an important and underutilized tool that can assist employers to achieve low turnover and high productivity.

This information is general in nature and should not be construed as tax or legal advice.