If you want the truth about your company, ask people on the way out. Exit interviews can deliver important inside information. The way departing employees view your organization might be the way things really are.
Below is an exit interview questionnaire you can print and give to staff members who are leaving. But first, a few points:
- Engage third-party interviewers. Many departing employees don’t want to burn bridges or sour an ex-employer against them. One way to get them to open up is to have a third party conduct exit interviews. You can likely engage a human resources consultant or temp for this purpose. You might even allow employees to remain anonymous to encourage them to provide more detailed feedback.
- Dig to the heart of the matter. It isn’t enough to just ask employees why they’re leaving. You often have to probe, as illustrated by the questions below.
- Scrutinize the comments collectively. Individual exit interviews can be interesting but, when viewed together, they tend to take shape as a powerful management tool.
Exit interviews can reveal the “why” of high turnover. For example, you might discover that one department’s turnover problems are largely attributable to a manager with poor people skills. You can then send that manager for additional training. Or you might find that long commutes are driving people away and decide to add telecommuting options or flexible schedules so employees can escape rush hour.
Departing employees can be important agents for change. Use the opportunity to help your company improve.
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