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How to Run a Successful Exit Interview

3 min read
Exit interviews are a great way to identify trends in why people leave the organisation and learn from them to reduce attrition. Find out how to run an exit interview with our best practice guide

The most effective interview programs:

  • Encourage open dialogue by using online surveys, which result in more candid feedback (as well as useful data) than a more traditional face-to-face interview
  • Are automated through a digital open door by linking an employee feedback platform to your HRIS to automatically send a request for feedback when an employee hands in their notice, reducing the amount of time HR needs to spend manually administering the surveys
  • Understand the impact of attrition by correlating data from different sources. For example, by tying in your exit interview data with 360 performance data or employee engagement data you can start to identify regrettable and non-regrettable attrition.

READ MORE: How to use exit interviews to reduce unwanted attrition

  • Track trends over time so you can measure improvements and link them to KPIs such as staff turnover costs to prove the ROI of your improvements

Increasing Response Rates in Your Exit Surveys

Typically, only about a third of employees leaving an organisation complete an exit interview. Given the importance of the information, it’s in every organisation’s best interest to improve response rates.

The most basic suggestion is to make sure that exit interviews are a priority and to encourage managers and exiting employees to complete them. There are also a few rules of thumb to increase response rates:

  • Make the exit interview part of the standard off-boarding process and use automated systems to reduce the workload
  • Conduct the exit interview after they decide to leave but just before leaving the organisation. Employees are less likely to respond to the survey once they have left the organisation.
  • Keep employee exit interview questions short and simple by focusing on evaluating different job components and identifying needed changes.
  • Think carefully about questions around feelings and emotions as this is particularly difficult, especially if the employee has been terminated from the job.
  • Assure the respondent that their comments will not be directly shared with their former supervisor or co-workers and that the HR team will evaluate their ratings and comments. It’s important that they’re reassured their feedback will not affect things like references to future employers, so making sure they understand their feedback is confidential or anonymous.

Conducting exit interviews is crucial in understanding how to continually improve the employee experience.

READ MORE: Confidential vs anonymous employee feedback

FREE TEMPLATE: Exit Interview Survey Questions