Sunday, 14 July 2024
exit interviews

For a detailed exploration of the principles for effective exit interviewing, see our white paper.

Why do exit interviews?

Exit data is the most accurate source of intelligence on your drivers of staff turnover. Conducted at the end of employment, they represent a unique opportunity to get candid, uncensored feedback about what your organisation can do to prevent people leaving in the future. Some organisations look to engagement data to guide retention efforts however the link between engagement and staff turnover is not strong. This is likely due to the fact that engagement surveys ask about why people might leave whereas exit interviews explore why people did leave. Also the term 'engagement' has no single, commmonly accepted definition.

Should they be confidential, anonymous, or shared openly?

The end of employment is the time in the employee life cycle where the risk of sharing openly and honestly is at its lowest. However there are still perceived risks: the risk of poor references, the risk of burning bridges or the risk of retaliation from named individuals who may still have access to personal contact details. We’ve heard first hand from departing employees how these risks can feature significantly in their comfort with being open and honest.

However, if you are currently treating all individual exit data confidentially, you are missing out on a good deal of their value as a full 75% of departers are happy to share their feedback openly. For the 25% who require some disclosure control in exchange for honesty, a watertight policy is needed. Ideally this is controlled by the departer’s permission with regard to who can see their report.

Our proven disclosure control policy and interview design makes it possible to preserve anonymity when needed while still ensuring you benefit from the feedback. While very few (‹10%) choose to withhold their individual results completely, having the option to do so has proven to have a powerful impact on people's willingness to be open. Only an external organisation that adheres to strict privacy principles can credibly assure departers of anonymity if they need it.

What should exit interviews cover?

  • Departer destination
  • Reasons for leaving and dissatisfiers (these are two different issues and must be separated from each other)
  • Quality of management and leadership by direct manager
  • Satisfaction with the organisation
  • The exit decision process
  • Relationship with the organisation and impact on employer brand
  • Biographical information about the departer and their role

In addition to covering these topics in detail, The Interview Group gives you the opportunity to tailor and add questions that explore issues important or unique to your organisation. For example some clients ask for feedback on cultural programs or test how well values or key behaviours are known.

Who should conduct exit interviews?

For best results exit interviews should be conducted by an experienced interviewer with a business background who is external to the organisation. Leaving or losing your job can frequently be surrounded by highly emotional issues and the skilled hand of an experienced interviewer is needed to ensure that the root cause of the issue is captured, that the key issues are identified among the many examples and importantly, that people feel heard.

Our interviewers do not take a position on any issues raised nor do they communicate with employers outside of the interview reports. The power of being genuinely listened to by an independent party often has a big impact on the Departer’s sense of closure and how they will represent their time with your organisation.

What about reporting?

Most of the effort collecting high quality data is wasted unless the data is reported on meaningfully, to the people who can address the issues. Our online reporting tools make it easy to identify trends and pinpoint the actions required to meet your desired level of staff turnover. Clients can access their own data whenever they need it. The ‘hard data’ output from these tools is invaluable for building strong business cases for HR and L&D intiatives.

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