What To Ask During An Exit Interview

May 21, 2019

Employee carrying a cardboard box of his things from the office.

Almost 75% of companies utilize some form of exit interview process – yet just a fraction of those feel it provides any value to their company. Why is that? And where does your company fit in?

Less than a third of companies with a formal process consolidate that data and utilize it in strategic decision making. That is a significant amount of data coming from internal stakeholders that isn’t being used – and that’s a huge missed opportunity.

How Exit Interviews Can Help With Recruitment

Exit interviews should accomplish two main goals – creating and maintaining strong advocates and relationships with your employees and gaining valuable insight to improve your organization.

Whatever your employees reason to depart, the exit interview provides a key opportunity to ensure they feel heard and respected for their contribution. The interview also allows your organization gain real feedback from key stakeholders – your employees – to identify areas of opportunity, help you cut down on turnover, and improve your bottom line.

What to make sure you ask

  1.   Reason for departure: This may reveal dissatisfaction with their role, extraneous life events, leadership challenges or other reasons.
  2.     Employees perspective on the job: This should include the job role, function, and working conditions. These answers can identify imbalances in responsibility and capacity, improve employee efficiency and provide valuable information about employee perspective on how that role fits into the organization as a whole. Did they feel they had clear goals and objectives? Ensuring employees have a clear sense of the value of the work is critical in ensuring the workforce is all working towards a consistent vision for the company. Did the duties and demands meet their expectations? If there is a disconnect between what the advertised role and their experience, this may result in a dissatisfied employee, which could reveal a review is needed for job descriptions and the interview process.
  3.    Supervisor or manager’s leadership effectiveness: Questions targeted around the employees’ direct supervisor and their working relationship are critical to identifying patterns and the culture within teams. These questions might reveal that additional training is needed for managers, from technical, leadership or interpersonal shortfalls.
  4.  Human resources benefits and policies: These can include concerns with salary, benefits, policies and more. Are there gaps in training or hiring? Are there alternative compensation structures that would increase employee morale? By asking these questions you can create stronger human resource practices that meet employee expectations and needs.
  5.     Organizational areas of opportunity: Don’t limit the questions of this interview to just the employees’ job scope. Provide an opportunity for them to offer their ideas, based on their unique experience with the company. You might find innovative and creative solutions to organizational issues. Some experts suggest asking employees a question similar to “Please complete the sentence: ‘I don’t know why the company doesn’t just ____’”.

So, now we’re done?

Not quite. Is your company guilty of filing exit interviews away in a locked drawer once their complete, and never looking at them again? Completing the interview is only half the battle – now you have the bigger job of analyzing the data. Make sure you’re tracking and recording interviews in a consistent way, so you can identify trends, problem areas and places of opportunity. Exit interviews are your single best source for free research related directly to your company – so why not leverage it?

For example, if your company is filing exit interviews away without a second glance, you could be missing opportunities to save big. Are people leaving because they want more flexibility? Take a look at your benefits and identify opportunities for work-from-home days, flexible hours or other creative solutions. This is an easy way to cut down on turnover, saving you real dollars in cost of vacancy and recruitment costs.

What are you waiting for? Talk to the experts at Executrade today and get started building an exit interview process that will have a meaningful impact on your business.