The importance of an exit interview and why you shouldn’t waste it
Exit interviews can provide a wealth of valuable data to organisations. They’re an opportunity to gather knowledge, insight and honest feedback. This is Information that could be used to improve systems, lower staff turnover and keep your best staff. In this new era for Australian employers, exit interviews can be an important tool to for organisational culture.
POLL RESULTS – Nearly 40 percent of employees have never done an exit interview
Results from a recent survey about exit interviews, conducted on LinkedIn by iHR Australia, showed that 24% of respondents found it a good process and outcome, 19% found it a bad experience and 38% had never done one.
We spoke to Avi Kumar, iHR Australia’s Senior Workplace Relations Consultant to discover the pros and cons of Exit Interviews.
Why doesn’t every organisation conduct an exit interview?
“It is very important that organisations are receptive to outgoing feedback. It is a great opportunity to learn what an employer, it’s leaders and the wider organisation does well and not so well. Some, HR professionals, however, report that senior executive teams are sometimes challenged by receiving negative feedback. But what we mustn’t forget, in our very socially focused world, is that it’s better to know what a person is going to be saying once the leave; to their peers and across the online world. Giving them a platform to express themselves takes the ‘sting’ out of what they may want to say. A lot of the built-up angst dissolves because you’ve given them the opportunity to vent.”
What are some of the ‘dos and don’ts’ of an exit interview?
Don’t give an employee 50 questions and don’t give them one question – the interview must be structured and tailored.
“I have a favourite question I always ask in an exit interview – If this was going to be your first day again – what would you say to yourself (with the knowledge you have now)? This question allows them to reflect productively,” Avi said.
Don’t do the interview on their last day. Give them the opportunity to do it in advance, allowing the employee to feel they’ve had a gracious exit.
Don’t shelve the feedback. A vast majority of organisations just use it as a ‘check box’ on their monthly reporting.
Don’t use the interview to’ get dirt’ on other employees – which is often why employees don’t feel comfortable doing the interview.
Do use the information and run analytics, develop trends and make changes as necessary.
Do be open about receiving feedback and allocate sufficient time. For example, 30 mins for an employee who had been with the company for 20 years is doing a disservice to that employee.
Do always ask the outgoing employee whether or not they are willing to do the exit interview. (the refusal percentage is an interesting statistic in itself)
Who should do the Exit Interview with the outgoing staff member?
“HR teams are usually expected to conduct the exit interviews but the HR department, naturally, may not always view titself as a totally objective player in this process.. For those teams, it may be worth considering the notion that the best learnings may come from an independently conducted interview.
“The interview can be done by utilising an external specialist party, exit interview software or an HR professional from a different department,. All of these options can potentially provide an objective approach and outcome,” Avi said