When employees leave their job voluntarily, it is important that we pay attention to the reasons that led them to make that decision. The exit interview is the ideal resource for doing it since it gives us the opportunity to talk to people and find out their points of view about the organization, find out what their experience within the company has been like, and gives us the answers we need for implementing improvement actions that strengthen talent loyalty.
What is an exit interview?
When people become part of the team, we carry out an onboarding process to welcome them and integrate them into their new role. In the same way, when they leave the company, the offboarding process begins, which consists of several measures to facilitate the departure in a comfortable and pleasant way for the employee.
The exit interview is located within this offboarding process: a conversation aimed to assess how the employees have progressed during the time they have spent in the organization and explores the reasons that have led them to leave the company.
Exit interviews are a very valuable resource for Human Resources departments since with them, you can identify the areas for improvement in the company and thus take the appropriate actions to improve the employee experience and reduce the resignation rate in the future.
Why is it important to do exit interviews?
Imagine you have a high turnover rate, and every time an employee leaves the company, you don’t ask why.
How are you going to improve the rate of voluntary resignations if you don’t know the reasons that make workers want to leave?
Knowing the opinion of employees is the basis for creating strategies that boost their motivation and encourage them to stay in the company.
These are the main benefits of exit interviews:
- Improve talent management by identifying the areas in which workers are less satisfied.
- It helps to know what the company’s strengths are to promote employer branding.
- Identifying the gaps between expectations and reality makes it possible to refine the hiring processes.
- With exit interviews, you get useful and effective feedback for process improvement.
- It allows you to establish a positive trust relationship during the separation of the employee.
How to correctly conduct an exit interview?
Given the importance of exit interviews, it is important to do them properly to obtain the quality information we want.
Here’s how to go about this process to maximize results:
1. Prepare the exit survey
The first step is to create a questionnaire with the appropriate questions. These questions must be clear and direct, and must be aimed at finding out the reasons that drive employees to leave the company.
Maintain an appropriate balance between closed questions and open questions: the first ones will help you have quantitative data easy to compare over time, while the second ones will provide you with more detailed qualitative information that you can use to guide the conversation in the subsequent interview.
A specialized employee survey software like Team Insights will help you carry out this step in an agile and controlled way.
Another key issue is time: you must send the form in advance so that the employee can respond calmly and without pressure. In this way, the information will be more honest and meaningful.
With Team Insights you can have the surveys prepared and send them to whoever you want, whenever you want.
2. Conduct the 1:1 interview
Once the pre-survey is sent, examine the responses to prepare the one-on-one interview.
Although current technical resources allow for remote interviews, in these cases the exit interview should be done in person. Then, you can pay attention to the verbal and non-verbal language of your interlocutor. Also, speaking in person helps create the atmosphere of warmth and trust necessary for employees to feel valued.
The objective of this exit interview is to delve into the responses to the questionnaire, give workers the opportunity to express themselves in more detail and clarify possible misunderstandings.
All the information you gather from this session will help you improve the employee experience and increase the loyalty rate. So, make sure that you have enough time to speak calmly and without haste so as not to leave any loose ends.
3. Analyze the results
With the data in hand, it’s time to review the information. At this point, it is necessary to emphasize that a single interview by itself is not very productive. The really effective thing is to have a large database of employees who have previously left the company.
If you have previous exit interviews, you can compare them to spot patterns and similarities that will guide you toward the cause of widespread turnover.
4. Apply the appropriate actions
Use the results of all your exit interviews to establish the appropriate improvements that directly attack the root problem.
A continuous improvement of the work environment will increase the quality of life of employees, who will be more satisfied with the organization and less likely to want to go elsewhere.
25 essential questions for the job exit interview
Now that you know what are the steps to conduct a productive exit interview, let’s see what are the important questions that cannot be left out:
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Strongly disagree” and 10 “Strongly agree”, rate the following statements:
- My manager has made clear the expectations of my work at all times.
- My manager has maintained open and fluid communication.
- My manager has been able to promote teamwork.
- My manager has celebrated the milestones and has known how to value my work.
- The organization shares honest and transparent information with its employees.
- The organization listens to and values its employees.
- The work environment is healthy and positive.
- There is cooperation between the different departments of the company.
- At [company name] you can have a good balance between work and personal life.
- My work has met my expectations.
- At [company name] they have provided me with all the necessary resources to carry out my work.
- At [company name] I have received the necessary training to carry out my job.
- At [company name] they have a development plan and they carry it out.
- At [company name] I have received promotion opportunities.
- My compensation is appropriate to my role.
- My effort and dedication have been reflected in my salary.
- I am satisfied with the benefits offered by [Company Name]
- What motivated you to leave the organization?
- If you’ve already accepted new employment, what characteristics make it more attractive than the one you were holding so far?
- What aspects of the management of [company name] are you satisfied with?
- What can we improve as a company?
- What are your professional future plans?
- What factors would make you change your decision to leave the organization?
- Would you recommend working at [company name]? Why?
- Is there anything you would like to share with the organization?
Exit interview: good practices and extra tips
If you want to sharp your exit interviews to get the most out of them and further improve your organization, here are some pro tips to help you implement them most effectively:
- Pick the right time. The best time to do the exit interview is the employee’s last day of work.
- Prepare the interview. The exit interview represents a unique opportunity to find out what works and what doesn’t in people management at your company. So, it is better to have a script prepared with everything you want to find out. Review the answers to the pre-survey and write down everything that catches your attention and that you want to deepen or clarify.
- Practice empathy and active listening . You may receive answers that surprise you or with which you disagree. Listen to your employees and you may discover aspects of the organization’s management that you were unaware of.
- Do not take the interview to the personal field. There are many reasons why a person chooses to leave your organization. However, we must remember that turnover is part of the employee journey process, and as such, it must be treated naturally.
- Ensure confidentiality. It is absolutely necessary that everything that comes out during the exit interview stays between the interviewer and the interviewee. The data gathered should only be used to create improvement actions and promote employee commitment and loyalty in the medium and long term.
- Appreciate their dedication. Finally, thank the employee for the time they have invested in answering the exit interview questions, and let them know that their collaboration will help make things better in the future.
Exit interviews can provide you with a large amount of very valuable information for the continuous improvement of your organization. In Team Insights we provide you with the best platform to send this and other employee surveys. Why don’t you sign up and use it right now? It’s free!