Fortunately or unfortunately (more the latter than the former), the departure of an employee is something very common and natural in the life of any organization. People tend to take new paths guided by their needs, by curiosity, by the adventure of entrepreneurship… There can be many reasons why an employee decides to leave a project to join another one, or to create his own. The most important thing is that the company being left behind understands these reasons, and not only that, but also learns from them. This is where the importance of the Exit Interview lies.
What is an Exit Interview?
Exit interviews are interviews that are conducted with individuals who have made the decision to end their relationship with the company voluntarily. In such a situation, the company must react positively and sympathetically towards the employee. In this way, from a negative situation, very positive data can be obtained for the future performance of the company, especially in terms of HR policy and talent management.
The exit interview should be conducted for each employee leaving the company, regardless of the reason. The reasons why an employee decides to leave the company should always be made and recorded. The objective is to extract as much information as possible to find areas of improvement that will allow the company and each of its members to grow.
Advantages and errors to avoid
ADVANTAGES. The advantages of conducting exit interviews are as immediate as they are obvious. The aim is to understand the reasons that may lead an employee to want to leave the company, so the information we will receive will be completely accurate, first-hand and immediately applicable. From each interview conducted, a series of data and information will be extracted and analyzed. From this analysis we will draw all the points of improvement to avoid a possible talent drain. In addition, this generates a better employee’s departure, which positively closes an employment relationship and, in turn, improves the company’s Employer Branding.
POSSIBLE ERRORS. The main mistake is to forget that we are doing an exit interview, not a debate about who did right or who did wrong. What the worker says should not be judged, nor should we be corporatist, nor should we try to convince him to stay. It is a matter of listening and understanding the reasons for leaving in order to improve the key points and, to do this, we will need to create a climate that inspires confidence in order to be completely sincere.
Exit Interview Format
There are several formats for conducting exit interviews. However, there are two that could be considered ideal for any HR department, one for being the most direct, and the other for being the most comfortable.
On the one hand, we have the face-to-face format. A face-to-face interview, although a priori it may not be the most comfortable for the former employee, will depend a lot on the way in which it is conducted by those in charge and, in addition, it is the most effective method to better influence the answers you wish to obtain.
And, on the other hand, we have the questionnaire format, in which we would send the former employee all the questions we would like to answer in order to strengthen the improvement points.
But... what to ask?
There are a series of essential questions that we cannot leave unanswered, and there are others that can be used to guide the conversation.
- What is the most important factor/motivation that led you to make this decision? (This way we can be sure of the real motives).
- What positive aspects do you take away from the experience?
- What aspects fell short of expectations? (when we did wrong, where we could improve…)
- What do you think the company could have done to improve your experience?
- How do you think we could prevent other colleagues from leaving as well? (In order for the employee to be helpful and sincere in this respect, an appropriate climate of trust and sincerity must be created).
- How was the welcome to the company? Would you change anything about the welcome process for the first 100 days?
- Did you have access to all the tools you needed?
- Did we meet your pre-entry expectations?
- Were you given clear objectives and targets for your work?
- How was your relationship with your boss?
- Were you able to achieve your professional objectives?
- What skills or experience should we look for in your replacement?
- Would you consider working with us again? What would influence you to return?
- Is there anything we could have done to keep you from leaving?
- Do you have any other comments?
What to do after the interview is over?
Once the interview has been completed and all the required information has been obtained, the company must keep it confidential. This information should be compared with other Exit Interviews, as well as analyzed by the HR team. This will ensure that the information is handled by the relevant department and team, and that any negative data left behind by the former employee does not spread throughout the company. With this, we already have the necessary information to be able to propose improvement actions.
And you, have you ever been through an exit interview? Have you used it in your company? Leave us your experience and opinions in the comments. We are listening!
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