Exit Interviews and the value of hindsight

As an employer, you’ll want to keep your best talent for as long as possible.  Recruiting and training is expensive. Exit interviews may seem like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.  In fact they can be the key to retaining great staff.


Why do exit interviews?

Exit interviews can highlight any issues.  If you don’t know why your employees are leaving, how can you do something about it?

Exit interviews can reveal patterns and pick up trends. People may be leaving because of a management style, the work culture, ethics, staff morale, day-to-day concerns or company processes. Putting right an issue that comes up again and again can reduce staff turnover.

They are also a great way to learn more about your company. Staff are usually more open as they no longer have to stay in your good books!

Exit interviews help to tie up loose ends.  You’ll want to make sure that company property is returned and that they know of any restrictive covenants.  They’ll want to know about their final pay, holiday entitlement, P45 and company pension.


How to do exit interviews

Explain at the beginning of the meeting that their comments will be confidential.  You will only discuss them with management after they have left.

If a person has a problem with their manager, they won’t want to discuss it with the manager concerned.  Use someone who can be neutral to conduct exit interviews.  Someone who can remain calm, fair and objective.

The employee should be given the chance to get anything they want off their chest.  If you provide questions in advance you may get more in depth answers.


What should you ask?

One of the most common reasons for leaving a job is the behaviour or management style of their direct manager.  Always ask your employee about how they were managed and how this could have been improved.

Ask if the promises made during the recruitment process were followed through. What did they like/dislike about their time working for your business?

Ask about their positives and negatives.   What did they think about their salary, benefits and working conditions?  Other useful questions revolve around how the employee would change the job if they could. Ask about their new job – it’s always useful to know what your competitors are offering.

If the employee has been a valuable employee, try to maintain contact.  Then if you have an opportunity in the future for them then you can get in touch.


How many times have you said “if only I had known”?   Your next great employee could be out on interviews.  Time to act on what you have learnt and learn the lessons of your exit interviews.


If you would like more information, please do contact us.

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