Employee exit interviews are an important part of HR management and monitoring employee retention and satisfaction. It is important to understand why an employee leaves and what information you can use to avoid future employee losses. Avoidable losses result from employee job dissatisfaction, employees not feeling valued, poor management practices, the lack of advancement opportunity, and sometimes personal harassment by or conflict with a co-worker or manager. Another purpose of exit interviews is to help employers avoid litigation caused by illegal activities or disgruntled employees.
Employee exit interviews can change the climate of the organization by changing management style, making changes that reflect employee opinions and creating value recognition programs where needed. One key to increasing the employee’s opinion of the organization is in the management of expectations. Realistic job expectations are important and management should focus on creating proper expectations.
Employee exit interviews should focus on retention by identifying why the employee is leaving and if the company’s level of performance or the employees’ unfulfilled expectations are at issue. Employment environments with low levels of employee retention reflect low levels of job satisfaction and come at a great cost to the organization. Not only is it expensive to hire and then train new employees, but poor employment environments can have a negative impact on productivity and morale.
Effective employee exit interviews are an opportunity to diagnose and improve performance within the company.
Generally, only about one-third of employees leaving an organization complete an exit interview. There are several ways you can try to increase response rates. You can try to increase response rates by using multi-mode approaches, especially online since online respondents tend to be more frank and likely to provide related experiences. Another way is to keep employee exit interview questions simple and short, focusing on evaluations of different job components and identification of needed changes. It is important to realize that questions about feelings and emotions are particularly difficult, especially if the employee has been terminated from the job. You should tell respondents that since their comments and evaluations are important, the HR director will evaluate them. If respondents make suggestions, send a note thanking them for their honesty and report on implementations that are based on their recommendations. You can also audit your exit interview process to see where improvements need to be made.
Approximately three months after the completion of the employee exit interview survey, consider sending a Job Comparison Questionnaire that contains questions related to current employment status and a comparison of their new job with their previous job with your organization.