Nobody will work for you forever. Inevitably, team members will move on from your company, though you may not always understand why.
It could get to a point, where you are seeing an unusually high amount of employee turnover, resulting in disputation and potentially a downturn in profits. This is where exit interviews come in.
Employee exit interviews can help you identify issues that cause your team to leave. This can help you to improve your business and reduce employee turnover.
Here, we’ll show you what an exit interview is and how you can use them to prevent any further brain drain from the company. We've put together a template for you to use when you are conducting interviews with your departing employees.
If you need immediate support, get in touch with one of Croner's experts here 0800 141 3594.
What is an exit interview?
An exit interview, also known as a departure interview, is a conversation between you and your employees at the end of their contract. Beyond this, the specifics of the interview can vary significantly.
It is a chance to get some candid, honest constructive feedback from your employees about why they are leaving. As they no longer rely on the company to support their livelihood, they are more likely to give you some honest feedback and gain insights into how your company is run.
It's not a legal requirement to have these, so not all companies conduct exit interviews. However, because of the value attached to exit interviews, this is rare.
What are the benefits of an exit interview?
You always want to keep your most valued employees and reduce turnover. High turnover can cause inconsistent performance within the organisation. So keeping employees allows for more consistent productivity.
One way to prevent employee turnover is to understand why they left in the first place. Exit interviews are the most powerful tools that you can use to achieve this.
These interviews allow you to understand;
- What your team wants, even when it's coming from an employee who has chosen to leave your business. This will help you to improve your business for your current and future employees.
- Why they stay, this stage of the exit interview will help you to find out why your employees stay with your business. This will help you to improve your other employee's experience at your business and improve future retention.
- Why employees leave, this is important as it will help you to understand why they want to leave your business. You can use these points to help improve your business and improve employee retention.
Not only this, it allows you to generate data on these key points. It generates a data pool which you can analyse and create strategies to improve company culture and reduce turnover.
So with the data from the exit interview, you can increase productivity and decrease turnover by surveying employees as they end their relationship with the organisation.
How to add an exit interview into your offboarding process
As we've established, exit interviews are between you and your departing employee to gain insights as to why they are leaving your business.
Adding an exit interview to your offboarding process is fairly easy and quick to do. All you need to do is add a few more steps to your general process, such as;
- Draft questions to ask.
- Arrange a meeting with the employee.
- Take their answers onboard and implement solutions for new and existing team members.
A key factor for employers to consider is, who is going to conduct exit interviews. Ideally, you should allow the departing employee to choose who their interviewer will be.
Although, if as a business you would like the interview to be carried out by the employee's line manager or a representative from human resources.
In these instances, you should assess the benefits and disadvantages of this decision.
However, you must ensure that the employee feels comfortable talking to their line manager. Particularly when they are talking about good and bad experiences they've had in their time at the business.
Benefits of exit interviews
Exit interviews can have multiple benefits for your business, even if some of the feedback is hard to hear.
As an employer, a successful exit interview will highlight aspects of your business that need to be worked on. This could include curating a better company culture and implementing policies that will help improve employee retention.
Conducting exit interviews is a cost-effective way of getting feedback about your company and any issues within it. An alternative would be to complete an assessment or carry out a business suit, which can cost you money and time.
Understanding Employee Turnover
This is a key benefit of the process as it will help you to figure out why your employees are leaving and flag areas that you can improve on to help employee engagement.
Increased Retention Rates
This benefit can be closely linked to your employee turnover. You are able to spot opportunities that will help you improve your team's work-life balance.
Even the smallest of changes can affect the morale and happiness of staff and improve retention.
Use the information your employee gives you through the exit interview process.
You could implement new policies or initiatives that benefit your remaining staff and future employee's off the back of these interviews.
Revealing Structural or Culture Issues
Employees leaving your company are more likely to be honest about problems they've had during their time with your business. As they won't be worrying about what they say affecting their job.
Use this information to improve situations, review practices, and make a better work environment for your other employees.
How to conduct an employee exit interview
While they have great value, if not conducted correctly, an exit interview can be ineffective. Therefore, you must know the right exit interview questions to ask,
Goals of an exit interview
An exit interview is an opportunity for employers to better understand what they are doing right and identify areas for improvement. But you need clear goals to help establish this.
In shaping your exit interview policy and strategy, you should focus on six goals:
- Find issues relating to HR: improve internal policies
- Learn about attitudes towards work: improve workplace motivation and satisfaction.
- Gain insight into managers' effectiveness: help managers tailor their style.
- Learn about competitors: see what they are offering their talent.
- Gather ideas for improvement: allow for broad ideas for improvement to be discussed.
- Have individuals leave on a positive note: improve company reputation.
Ensure everyone has an exit interview
Every person that leaves your company deserves an exit interview. It may be tempting to only conduct exit interviews with your star performers, and members of staff that you want to keep.
If you’re discarding the experiences of other team members, then you’re going to miss out on the crucial information that could tell you why that hire turned into a ‘troublemaker.’
Perhaps there is something wrong with how you managed the role that makes it harder for people to succeed. Unless you ask, you’ll never know.
What format should exit interviews take?
It is best for these to take place face-to-face as it allows for rapport Although a phone interview or video call can work too. To complement this meeting, an exit survey/questionnaire is a great way to gather data from employee exit interviews.
The person who's most familiar with your outgoing employee's work is their direct supervisor. But it's best if someone else conducts the exit interview.
If people are leaving because of their manager, they probably won’t say so if their manager does their exit interview. They may also keep quiet to get a good reference.
An HR team member usually is the best option, because they can focus on role-specific issues and complaints or suggestions for the organisation.
Some companies choose to have external consultants perform exit interviews.
When to conduct the interview
Schedule any meeting at the very end of your employee’s notice period or contract end. Before this, they will not be as free with their thoughts.
Questions to ask in an exit interview
Prepare your interview questions. Although you don’t want to make the questions look scripted, make sure you cover important topics before your employee leaves.
Don’t forget to promise confidentiality and try to keep a casual and friendly tone to let the conversation flow.
Here are some best exit interview questions which you can ask departing employees:
- Please describe your general feelings about working here. If possible, please tell us what caused you to leave.
- What did you enjoy most about working here?
- If you could change three things, what would they be?
- How do you feel your supervisor and your coworkers treated you?
- How well do you believe your work was recognised and appreciated?
- Do you feel we gave you adequate training, development opportunities and assistance?
- Are there things you wish you had known earlier?
- Do you think we aligned your work with your personal goals?
- What could we do to make this company a better place to work?
And here are some questions not to ask:
- What can we do to make you stay? - it is too late for this, the purpose is to learn about their perspective.
- Why didn’t you like working here? - overly negative questions leave less room for constructive feedback.
- Is there anyone else who should be leaving instead of you? - don’t let things get too personal. You want feedback on management and employees but don’t get into a blame game.
Exit interview template
An exit interview template ensures your exit interview process is consistent and provides valuable information from employees as they leave the company.
You can use the feedback to discover areas for improving your organisation’s employee experience.
What is an exit interview survey template?
It is a form that employee's fill out when they are leaving the company. You can conduct exit interviews through just a template, a verbal interview, or by combining both together.
Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so we would recommend using both. A written survey allows employees to write their feelings more freely.
But an interview afterwards allows for any rapport to bring other issues to the forefront or gain some needed context.
Why do you need an exit interview template?
A template exit interview form allows you to standardise the exiting process. When you have a clear and consistent template and process, it can help you draw more meaningful conclusions from the data.
You document the employee’s constructive comments and observations in an orderly fashion and compare the information more strategically.
Here are four reasons the template is beneficial:
- All key topics are covered.
- Conversations remain productive and focused.
- Employees are prepared.
What should a template cover?
Any exit interview template should include questions that cover these five categories:
- Reasons for leaving.
- The job itself.
- Remuneration & benefits.
- The company culture.
- Supervisors/line managers.
- Company management.
There should be both an employee exit interview questions template and a form section. This allows for simple questions where team members can give a reason, sections where they rank statements and sections for a longer explanation.
Having a mixture of data allows you to identify trends and gain more unique insights.
Expert support with Croner
Every employer will have to manage employee's leaving the company. While it is natural, you want to ensure it doesn’t become a brain drain. This will reduce your productivity and profits.
We will draft effective exit interview surveys and even conduct meetings with the employee on your behalf.
Our experts provide free help, support, and HR advice tailored to your requirements. Call us for free today for any other exit interview tips for employers. 0800 141 3920.
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