Innovative HR Solutions, LLC

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Conduct an Exit Interview in Person?

Today with technology impacting so many facets of the Human Resources function many employers today are migrating away from the in-person exit interview.  This trend, may save time and be the most efficient way to collect data but it is not always the best decision from a talent retention perspective.

An in-person exit interview should always be conducted with those employees that either have a long history with the company or have demonstrated excellence on the job or both.  Based upon the criteria established by the Human Resources department, key leaders in the HR function should make effort to follow this four step program to evaluate the reasons behind the employee’s departure.

Step #1 Evaluate the Departing Employee’s Work History

Following the receipt of a letter of resignation Human Resources should conduct a mini-audit to review the background of the departing employee to include work history, performance reviews and career progression.  If the employee has a long history with the organization and/or has exhibited excellence on the job, the employee should be encouraged to have a one-on-one meeting with Human Resources.  This meeting would be in addition to taking the web-based off-boarding survey.

If the departing employee has been a marginal performer then the on-line exit interview may be sufficient. 

To ensure consistency if any employee regardless of performance or tenure wants to have a one-on-one meeting this request should always be afforded to the employee.

Step #2 Prepare for the Interview

Preparing for the exit interview is key to obtaining information from the employee.  By reviewing the departing employee’s performance reviews, career history and salary progression the HR conducting the exit interview will be a better position to ask probing questions, understand the complexities of the job and learn more about the challenges the departing employee faced each day.  Good preparation by HR can also lead towards the departing employee having a positive impression of the company and allow for any issues to be explored and documented.

Step #3 Conduct the Exit Interview

Critical to conducting the exit interview is the ability to deviate from the standard questions and explore the reasons behind the employee’s departure.  Often times it is not just one work challenge but a combination of reasons that resulted in the employee resigning.  Listen to the employee, do not interrupt their responses to your questions and ask follow-up questions to ensure your understanding.

The longer service employee will also bring a perspective as to what has changed of the years and how has management addressed these changes.  The employee that has excelled in their career at the company will often share that a lack of recognition, engagement, accountability or shared values were possibly an impediment to their success.  Finding the reason why an employee is departing will allow you to learn more about what motivates and keeps employees engaged.

Step #4 Communicate the Results

Key to conducting an in-person and/or electronic exit interview is the need to act on the findings.  Results by department should be evaluated and measured against previous data.  The goal of spending the time conducting an exit interview and off-boarding survey is to reduce turnover and improve employee satisfaction and engagement.  If Human Resources communicates the findings then management can take action and improve the work environment.

Each of the steps outlined above are intended to allow the HR professional to conduct an effective exit interview and improve the processes for collecting data which can lead to employee retention.

To learn more about the benefits and stages of the exit interview process check out this site for additional information:

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