How to Profit When Losing an Employee: Exit Interviews

Every business hopes to inspire the kind of loyalty and motivation that leads to a lifelong employee-employer relationship like those enjoyed by generations past.  Today’s changing marketplace has the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that the average worker only stays with one company an average of 5 years.  With that kind of turnover rate, your business needs to develop a plan to benefit from the loss of an employee.  Exit interviews are an excellent opportunity for your company to gain valuable insight into its strengths and weaknesses.  So how do you get the most benefit out of losing an employee?

  • Utilize a written or computerized format for the exit interview. Outbound employees are more likely to give more honest, temperate, and thoughtful answers when not face to face with a previous manager or an in-house human resources professional. Outsourcing this HR duty can allow for enough distance to maximize effectiveness.
  • Foster an attitude of responsiveness by emphasizing that any information provided in the exit interviews will not result in a negative outcome or affect any future relationship between the departing employee and your company.
  • Develop a consistent protocol for the interview process, data collection, centralization, and analysis.  Maintaining consistent standards is crucial to pinpointing gaps which leave your company vulnerable to preventable turnover.
  • Take the opportunity to gain corporate insight into the current recruitment strategies of your competition by asking questions about compensation, benefits, and other offers that enticed your employee. These answers will give your business the ability to review and revamp its own recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Create exit interviews specifically for each department. Tailoring your questions to your employee’s particular job and experience will allow for a greater understanding of departmental issues that need to be addressed and whether they are chronic or allowed a onetime incident to provoke your employee to look for other work environments.
  • Make the exit interview just another part of the separation process along with the benefit review, final time-sheet, expense reports, etc . Making the interview part of the list of items which will be addressed prior to departure allows for a higher probability that the exit interview will be completed by the still employed worker.
  • Be professional and respectful throughout the exit process. Remember that while some will utilize the exit interview to vent frustrations, the information your outgoing employee has provided is not cause for personal defensiveness, but is an invaluable learning opportunity to better your business.

Workforce turnover is inevitable in today’s business world, but there are ways to capitalize on the experience.  Exit interviews can help you to maximize employee satisfaction and company retention rates. Contact us today for help with all of your Human Resources and outsourcing questions.