Exit interviews should always be conducted before an employee leaves a company. It gives you a valuable opportunity to identify problem areas that could be negatively affecting staff morale and gives you honest feedback to help you become a better manager. Here is why you shouldn't undermine the importance of exit interviews.
Understandably, conducting exit interviews can feel a little awkward. An employee has decided to leave, perhaps for another job opportunity or other personal reasons.
But, these interviews don't have to be awkward. As long as you ask the right questions, you can use the interview as an opportunity to gain insight into morale, perception of company culture and much more.
As a manager, you've already got many jobs to do in the office but make sure you don't forget to arrange an exit interviews for any soon to be ex-team member.
Exit interviews will help you become a better manager
One of the biggest benefits of conducting an exit interview is it can significantly improve your entire process and become a better leader in the office.
It's important to find out the reasons behind the employee's decision to leave. If these reasons are to do with how you manage your team (for example: micro-managing, lack of direction, etc) or the overall company culture then you can use this feedback to make improvements.
Here are some of the reasons why people decide to leave:
- They don't like the company culture
- Work life is compromising their home life
- Problems with their manager/colleagues
- No opportunity for progression or further training
- Another job offer (with a higher salary)
These sort of problems can finally prompt an employee to hand in their notice.
A survey by Glassdoor found that a third of UK workers leave because they we're chasing a higher salary...
If one of the main reasons your employees are leaving is because they want more money then it's important you find out: can you offer them more money to stay? Your hands might be tied when it comes to salaries but if it's a common reason why your employees are moving on to other employment, you will need to think of a solution to keep your employees happy and staying for the long term.
It's not always the salary that keeps people - for example, you could offer more training options or help pen out a career progression plan.
In some cases, you will have employees who are just ready to try something new with their career and the employee may have nothing negative to say against you or the company. Always make time to have an interview with leaving employees, give them some time to prepare and invite them to provide honest feedback. Even if the feedback is critical, you can use this information to make improvements to how you manage your team.
It's an opportunity to improve the job role for others
In some companies, there are always some types of jobs that have a higher turnover of employees. Having to regularly re-hire for the same job is expensive. There's the cost of losing a trained employee, the additional cost of having a vacant job and then once you've hired a new employee, there's the cost of training them and getting them up to speed.
The longer you can retain great employees will have a positive impact on your company's ROI.
Having an exit interview with leaving employees, gives you the chance to improve the job role for future staff. Perhaps the fact there's no clear career progression could be an issue or the job itself is very stressful. In the exit interview, make sure you ask the leaving employee what they liked and didn't like about the job.
Having exit interviews provides insight into employee morale throughout the company
When speaking to an employee in an exit interview, they can highlight issues that are not only affecting them but also other members of the team too. Some employees don't like to complain or red-flag problems until there's no risk to them personally.
Having an exit interview can help you identify any factors that are seriously undermining employee morale. The soon-to-be ex-employee can offer some helpful, insider advice on ways you can improve office morale. Take their advice on board.
An exit interview helps reduce the time to hire
As already mentioned, speaking to a leaving employee will hopefully provide you with some honest insight into how your company is running behind-the-scenes. From this employee, you can create a new job description with fresh ideas that will help attract new talent to apply.
They can offer suggestions on what will make the job better for the person replacing them and advice on what will encourage employees to stay longer at your company.
Feedback from exit interviews will undoubtedly help reduce your time to hire and reduce future recruiting costs because you will have a clearer idea on what type of person you want to hire and you can improve your job adverts to make them more focused.
How to conduct a successful exit interview
After an employee has given their notice in, book in your exit interview asap. If the employee has to complete a 4 weeks notice, you'd be surprised how fast the time goes and the employee may have holidays to use before they leave.
Find the best time for you and the employee, make sure you give them plenty of time to prepare for it. Ask them who they want to attend the interview. Are they happy to talk to you or would they rather talk to another manager or someone from HR?
You should always make sure the interview is completed face to face, questionnaires or surveys will only provide limited feedback.
Create questions to ask the employee before you have the interview. Having an informal chat is nice but it's easy to forget to ask certain questions:
- What are your reasons for leaving?
- Are there any factors at work that have contributed towards your decision to leave?
- Are you happy with your salary?
- Have you got another job lined up? What is it?
- How would you improve your job role?
Record your interview by taking notes so you can look at them again in future. They offer honest and constructive feedback and if you discover any trends for why people are leaving you can use these interviews to support your decisions for making changes in order to keep your good employees longer.
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