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:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Structure of the HR Organization and Will there be HR Generalists in the Future?

Recently there has been some discussion in social media as to the future of the HR Generalist role and is this type of position needed today?

Organizations are constantly reviewing whether to centralize their HR professionals or decentralize the Human Resources function.  There are typically three approaches regarding the structure of HR.
Decentralized:  If you have talented individuals that are resourceful, knowledgeable and are skilled in the process of explaining the HR programs and policies then the closer they are to support the business the better it is for the company.  Decentralization is the optimum approach with respect to building a partnership between HR and the business.  It is also the most costly from a budget perspective.
Blended:  If the HR staff lack the depth of experience then the goal is to train these individuals and hire “specialists” that can share their knowledge with the newer employees.  While these employees remain close to the business their lack of skill can often be an impediment to their success.  This structure also takes time to build and commitment from the leadership team is critical to maintaining this type of organizational platform
Centralized:  A centralized structure is a skilled and talented staff that are pro-active, reach out to the business units and provide sound advice from a call-center or centralized corporate office.  This approach is being used by an increasing number of companies that have 500 employees or more.  With employees becoming familiar with the self-service approach to obtain information about pay, benefits, promotions and career paths the need to have an intermediary is becoming less necessary
Today, organizations are looking for cost effective talent to support and partner with the business.  With budgets being scrutinized and HR metrics becoming an even more important part of the performance process the future of the HR Generalist particularly in larger organizations is very uncertain.
The future of the HR Generalist in larger companies (employers with 500 employees or more) will ultimately go away and be replaced with experts in a call center or corporate office.  The business units will only have an HR Generalist if they are willing to pay for this personalized support.  In our opinion, the business leader will determine that the HR Generalist is redundant and unnecessary.  Furthermore, the laws are changing rapidly at the state and federal level and with many companies having a global reach the need for “specialists” is even more important in today’s work environment.  The HR Generalist role is often one of sharing information that is provided by the corporate HR function anyway.  The timely sharing of information is critical to meeting the needs of the business and any follow-up action is often delayed as the skills of the HR Generalist are at times not as strong as the specialist.  This requires that the HR Generalist reach out repeatedly to the skilled expert in the corporate office to obtain clarification.  This takes time and costs the organization additional expense.
The future of the HR Generalist in smaller companies (employers with 499 employees or less) is a very different story.  These skilled professionals will continue to be relied upon, typically report to the CEO or COO and have significant influence on the organization.  They will also have between 3 and 5 subordinates which provide specialized services to the company.  Further career opportunities in this area will continue to grow and expand.
To learn more about what is best for your company Human Resource departments are often conducting employee surveys to evaluate department performance, establish year-over-year metrics, review the success or failure of the established programs and policies and finally how to best meet the needs of the organization and staff.  Consider conducting an employee survey to discover what your employees are thinking.
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