Exit Interviews: A Chance to Improve Your Business

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis

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12 Oct 2018

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If an individual relies on you for their livelihood, the chances are high that they won’t provide you with totally honest feedback—they don’t want to ruffle any feathers.

This doesn’t mean they won’t tell you the truth, just that they may refrain from complaining about a certain manager, or won’t go into full detail about their issue with their commute, and so on.

Exit interviews are great opportunities for asking your outgoing employees questions that you’ve never had a chance to ask. And, employees are more likely to be honest now that they’ve focused their eyes on the exit door.

What is an exit interview?

An exit interview is a meeting with an employee who’s leaving your business. An exit interview gives you the chance to discover their reasons for leaving your company and to address any issues they had while they were under your employment.

You should come ready, and ask your employee exit interview questions that you have prepared in advance, and that are applicable to this employee’s situation.

Why are exit interviews important?

Exit interviews are important because they provide insights into your business that you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. However, failing to act on exit interview feedback negates the positive impact it could have. Investigate any issues raised in an interview, and take action.

An additional benefit is that making changes (based on the exit interview feedback) can stop other employees leaving for the same or similar reasons. Lower turnover/increased retention means less money spent on recruiting replacements

What are some common exit interview questions?

You can conduct your leaving interview in any number of ways: face-to-face, an exit interview form for employees to fill out, or even an online exit interview via Skype.

The type of interview is less important than asking the right questions.

To ensure you get the best feedback for your company, prepare an exit interview template.

Here are some sample questions to include in your template:

  1. Why did you look for another job?
  2. What was it about your new position that attracted you to the role?
  3. Was there anything we could have done better?
  4. Would you ever consider returning to us?
  5. How would you describe our company culture?
  6. Did you feel comfortable talking to your manager about any issues?
  7. Did you feel like the company valued you?
  8. Did you receive feedback on your performance? If yes, was it constructive?
  9. Did we give you all of the tools and training you needed to fulfil your role?
  10. What was the best part of your role?
  11. What was the worst part of your role?
  12. What would you have changed about your role?
  13. How could we improve our training and development?
  14. Did you have any other issues, or any further comments?

This last question allows the employee to bring up an issue that you may not have considered.

Asking follow up questions when your outgoing employee raises an issue, such as: ‘how would you have improved that?’ or, ‘what could we have done to make this better for you?’ shows that you’re listening and engaging with the individual’s concerns, rather than conducting the meeting merely as a formality.

Expert Support

For assistance preparing or conducting an exit interview, contact one of Croner’s employment law experts on 0808 145 3375.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in Employment law, HR and Commercial Legal advice for large organisations across the United Kingdom.

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Andrew Willis

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