Blog - What is an Exit Interview?

What is an Exit Interview?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than three million Americans quit their jobs voluntarily every month. There are many reasons why these employees choose to leave including lack of recognition, toxic work environment, bad managers, and minimal growth opportunities. That’s why it’s important for organizations to conduct employee exit interviews before workers walk out the door for the final time.

Exit interviews provide an excellent opportunity to learn from departing employees about why they are leaving the company. Your business can use data collected from these conversations to gain valuable insights into workforce trends, employee experiences, and issues that need to be addressed. Find out more about the purpose of exit interview processes and why the exit interview should be an important part of your human capital strategy.

Purpose of exit interview

When an employee resigns, it’s important to find out why. But what is an exit interview, its purpose, and how can your organization use it effectively? An exit interview is typically conducted by someone from HR, a manager, or a third party. The goal is to glean both positive and negative feedback so that the employer learns about areas that need improvement, resolves employment issues, and ensures a smooth transition for that employee’s future replacement. While most organizations conduct an exit interview and ask the right questions, the process shouldn’t end there.

An exit interview is an opportunity to make improvements and strengthen your retention strategies based on the information collected. According to Gallup, studying the why behind an employee’s exit is “important for learning how to keep your other star employees and continually improving your human capital practices.” Gallup points out that the most successful organizations use exit interview tips and best practices to ask questions and then effectively use this data to:

  • Monitor and act on reasons for turnover.
  • Address previous issues to ensure returning employees are more successful.
  • Enhance recruitment practices.
  • Coach managers.

How to minimize risk

Though exit interviews are not legally required, they can also be a useful tool to uncover potential lawsuits or other issues that need immediate attention. For example, you could ask a resigning employee to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding trade secrets and employer data. If that person refuses to sign, it could be a red flag that they plan to sue. Alternatively, a departing employee may reveal that they are leaving due to harassment or discrimination. Employee exit interviews can provide insight into other problems including bad managers or toxic workplace culture. If your organization learns of these issues, it’s imperative to take action right away to minimize risk, avoid legal battles, and improve workplace culture.

Three ways to enhance culture through employee exit interviews

Organizations use employee exit interviews to gain valuable insights into company culture, work environment, employee-manager relationships, and job satisfaction. Follow exit interview tips and best practices to get the most actionable information. Business leadership must carefully handle employee departures to preserve workforce morale and support core business values. According to Inc. contributor Marissa Levin, here are three ways good exit interviews can support company culture:

1. Shows employees that you care
When leaders seek feedback from employees, it sets a positive tone.
2. Demonstrates the positives of change
Someone leaving your organization isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it can lead to new ideas and opportunities as your business continuously evolves.
3. Proves your commitment to employees
It’s important to treat employees with respect throughout every stage of the employee lifecycle.

Use exit interview data to make positive change

Once your organization learns why employees are leaving, it’s important to use that data to address issues and make improvements that positively affect company culture and employee experience. Asure Software consultants help organizations design an effective exit interview process and conduct unbiased third-party interviews to gather and analyze information revealed by departing employees.

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