Use That Exit Interview!

Just because an employee is leaving doesn’t mean it has to be a cold good-bye. Utilize exit interviews to see not only why they decided to leave but also what’s good about your organization. A recent article from Mike Prokopeak, editorial director for Talent Management magazine, portrays a positive spin on the often dreaded exit interview.

“The thing to remember is that exit interviews are not about the individual,” said Beth Carvin, CEO of Nobscot, a technology company specializing in mentoring and employee retention. “We’re not trying to save that individual. We’re trying to take that information and improve the organization for everybody else.”

To attain the information you need, you don’t even need to change your exit interview strategy. You just have to re-evaluate how you assess the information. Often exit interviews ask questions about the departing employee’s manager. If a manager is depicted poorly, provide them with additional training or a mentor. And if a manager was given high marks, reward them. This will also provide you with a long-term bank of information.

Carvin notes four ways to conduct an exit interview: paper-and-pencil surveys, an in-person interview, a telephone interview or an online survey. Each has its own set of pros and cons:

Paper-and-pencil surveys and telephone interviews are convenient but typically get low participation. In-person interviews, while more likely to garner usable insight, are time consuming and plagued with potential quality problems. Online surveys allow employees to be open and honest and can be completed at their convenience.

Any way you want to look at it, the key is to have a system to track all of this information. If you can’t analyze the information then it is useless from the start. Create a spreadsheet or database to keep the information organized. The job market is still far from a sure bet, thus employees are largely staying where they are. This is an opportunity to work with your employees to help them achieve their desired goals within your organization.

Use your organization’s exit interviews to collect valuable information on how to engage and retain your employees. Only veterans can give you this kind of intelligence, and they will do so willingly. Learn how to effectively use this information by reading the full article here.


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