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Exit Interview Gold

Is it time to upgrade your exit interview process?

Departing employees are a wealth of information. Unfortunately, exit interviews are often treated as a box to be checked rather than a treasure trove of insights. In today’s technology-heavy corporate world, it has become commonplace for employers to skip this important conversation with departing employees. Instead, eixitng employees receive an automated email with a link to an exit survey where they can share feedback through a series of drop-down questions. The worst part? The feedback is collected, and then buried alive without being analyzed or shared with the people who could make improvements. Let's stop the madness!


It is time to upgrade your exit interview process. Here are a few guiding practices to turn your exit interviews into gold.


1. Put people (not systems) front and center.

If you think something is valuable, you make sure it is handled with care. Would you let a system extend a job offer? I think not. That conversation deserves a phone call. Exit interviews are just as nuanced and cannot be run successfully on automation alone. A skilled interviewer leading the process will add much more to the overall experience – they will create rapport with the departing employee and determine where they need to dig further to fully understand a situation. This is not to say that technology is not valuable in the exit process. More so, it is to emphasize that a people-centered process will fall flat unless it is driven by people.


2. Ask questions to solve live problems.

Exit interviews usually cover the basics – including details such as reasons for leaving, manager effectiveness, and feedback regularity. HR practitioners may consider an exit Interview a waste of time if they are not able to gather constructive feedback on these topics. But what if you started using your time with exiting employees to solve novel problems? For example, ask departing employees how they described their position to friends or family. A differing point of view could help your recruiting team add color to the job description during interviews.


3. Establish an information sharing cycle.

Identify the shareholders of your exit interview process and establish a timeline to share exit data. For example, are you obtaining meaningful data about how IT onboards new employees? Great! Set up a regular meeting with IT to share consolidated results. Partner with the appropriate parties to create meaningful action plans to address opportunities for improvement or celebrate successes. And sharing the positive feedback is just as important as identifying a flaw.


Some would argue that exit interviews are just as important as hiring interviews. It is true – exit interviews are a great opportunity to interact with employees who have decided to move on. With that in mind, take the time to shape the exit experience so you can ensure employees leave on the same high note that they started.

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