The Importance of Exit Interviews

Nobody looks forward to an exit interview. After all, if you’re conducting one at all it’s because an employee is moving on! Exit interviews are, however, extremely important, and can be valuable to both you and your departing employee if handled correctly. Here are just a few reasons why exit interviews matter…

1. They give you insight into your company

If there are problems within your company that have lead to your employee deciding to leave, this is your opportunity to find out as much as you can about them. An employee who is on their way out is much more likely to be honest and up-front about any issues. Be straightforward and ask them if there’s anything they would change. Their answer could help you improve employee retention, and save a great deal of money.

2. They give you insight into competitors

While compensation and employee benefits aren’t the biggest factors in employees deciding to leave, they are still very significant, with 22% of employees citing pay and benefits as a reason for leaving a role. If an employee has been offered a position elsewhere, the exit interview is a golden opportunity to gather information about the compensation strategies of your competitors – information that could be invaluable next time you seek to hire.

3. They make employees feel valued

Taking a moment to sit down with an employee and ask for their opinions about the company makes them feel valued and listened to, particularly if you’re willing to act on what you hear. In some cases this could be the difference between an employee leaving feeling bitter and angry, and one leaving singing the praises of your company.

The perfect exit interview

With the above points in mind it’s clear that exit interviews are important, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. You may have to ask specific questions in order to get the most valuable feedback and identify areas where your company could improve. Consider asking specifically about their feelings towards management, as well as what they liked the most and least about working at your company.

Don’t forget to make notes of what any employee leaving the company says. Not only does this show that you’re listening, but it also allows you to identify patterns in employee behavior, and zoom in on problem areas.

Finally, don’t forget to think about the tone of your meeting. If your employee is moving on because of an opportunity elsewhere, congratulate them! Make sure they know the work they did with you is valued. By ending things on a positive note you stand to create an ambassador for your company, whatever their reason for leaving.

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