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Why Exit Interviews Are Important

Why Exit Interviews Are Important

Sharlyn Lauby | HR Bartender

Employee engagement continues to be an issue for organizations. There’s constant conversation about being over-worked and under-paid. We all realize times have been tough but now is the perfect time to examine some of your processes to ensure your business remains healthy.

A couple days ago, I wrote about on-boarding – the beginning of a person’s career. Today, let’s talk about the end of the employment cycle – exit interviews.

Conducting exit interviews can be a valuable experience for any organization. Provided of course that the exit interview is done with proper planning and for the right reasons. If you’re doing exit interviews to get the heads-up on whether the departing employee plans to sue you and your company, well…that might be good to know but it’s not really the best use of an exit interview.

The real reason businesses conduct exit interviews is to get information about an employee’s work experience with the company. This information could be valuable all on its own or used with other exit interview data. To gather relevant information, there are a few things to keep in mind when structuring the exit interview process:

Who will conduct the interview? Many companies have an employee’s supervisor administer the exit interview. Not a good idea. If an employee had an issue with their supervisor, then chances are it will not come to the surface during the interview.

Another option is to have human resources conduct the interview. Since HR is considered the keeper of employee references, I don’t see employees opening up to HR. At this point in their career, they don’t want to burn bridges. So this becomes an exercise in futility. If you really want employees to provide open, honest and unfiltered feedback, consider engaging a neutral, third party to conduct the interview.

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