How to conduct an exit interview

a picture of someone's feet walking away from the organisation to represent how to conduct an exit interview

Seriously considering the question how to conduct an exit interview improves the usefulness of the process. They help your business out with real feedback from a departing employee to reduce future employee retention.

Exit interviews bring to light the specifics about why an employee is leaving. They help identify organisational issues which are contributing to the turnover rate.  By using this information, leaders can make real changes to reduce the drain of talent from the organisation.

What’s the benefit of having low employee turnover?

Organisations with low turnover rates spend less on recruitment costs and see increased productivity. All this embeds the organisation’s culture because those employees staying already know the core mission and the organisational norms.

How should an exit interview be conducted?

  1. When you’re inviting the employee to the exit interview, tell them what you want to gain from the conversation.
  2. Include in the invitation your expectations around confidentiality.
  3. Scheduling interviews with the employee giving them ample time to prepare for the conversation is an important part of how to conduct an exit interview. Arrange the meeting close to their last working day.
  4. If you’re serious about how to conduct an exit interview meaningfully, give the employee a list of questions that they’ll be asked. You want well thought out answers, not just off the cuff responses.
  5. Use the meeting to provide final paperwork, go over any benefit information and recover the employer’s property.

Who conducts the interview?

You’ll find exit interviews more valuable to the organisation if someone other than the line manager conducts them. Because if the line manager is part of the reason someone’s leaving, they’re more likely to tell you why they’re leaving with an impartial person.

Can you force an employee to attend an exit interview?

No. If an employee refuses to attend an exit interview it’s worth trying to find out why. Maybe they need reassuring about the process and the confidentiality. But it could be that they are angry and don’t want to help the organisation. Finding out why they’re angry can be valuable. You might want to just check out how valid their comments actually are. Someone dismissed from the organisation may have an axe to grind.

What to do after the exit interview?

Thank the employee for their time.

Implement the feedback. It’s useful to keep a record of themes within exit interviews. Identifying trends such as are people finding the IT system frustrating, are people finding a particular manager’s style difficult.

Tell employees what you’ve changed as a result of the exit interviews so that they can see the benefit of them. It’ll give people confidence that they can speak out if they have a problem. Hopefully, they’ll speak up before resigning.

If you need help with exit interviews give us a call now on 01706 565332 or complete our contact form and we’ll call you back.

Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.

What are the roles and responsibilities of an HR Consultant?, What are the roles and responsibilities of an HR Consultant?

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