5 Exit Interview Tips to Help You Improve Retention

May 21, 2015

5 Exit Interview Tips to Help You Improve Retention

One of the best ways to improve retention is to find out why your people are leaving – and to do this, there is a common HR process called an Exit Interview.

Exit interviews are designed to gather feedback from leavers, with a view to providing insight that can be used to make future employees less likely to leave the company.

So if you want to do your own exit interviews, or are looking to improve the way you do them already, then here are 5 top exit interview tips that will help you improve retention.

1. Act Quickly. You should aim to schedule an exit interview as soon as possible after learning that an employee is leaving, to ensure the reasons are still fresh in the mind. Ideally you should conduct the interview before the person is actually processed as a leaver, as this may give you chance to fix any issues and the person might even change their mind.

2. Use an Independent Interviewer. The person conducting the interview should have as little connection to the leavers as possible – in other words, don’t ask a person’s direct manager to conduct the exit interview, as you are less likely to gather true feedback and concerns (especially if the leaver is not 100% ‘at peace’ with his or her manager).

3. Ask the Right Questions. There are so many reasons an employee could be choosing to leave, and it might not always be something your company has actively ‘done’ – it might just be that they have been offered a better job elsewhere. Ask about the reasons for leaving as an open question, but don’t be afraid to probe a little deeper, too – e.g. what is the attraction of the new position?; how were relationships with colleagues?; was there an issue with pay rates? Etc.

4. Follow Up. The first interview could easily be tainted by emotions and impulse – you will get a more accurate picture of why a person left your company by conducting a second interview a few months after, and then comparing the results of each. If the person is not willing to come to the workplace for this, you could always offer to conduct it over the phone.

5. Use the Information Wisely. Far too many companies follow all of the above advice, but then file their answers in a draw somewhere never to be seen again. Make sure you analyse the results of each exit interview, and aim to find any common issues that are causing your employees to leave – this will give you a better chance at improving your organisation and making it a better place to work.

How do YOU Conduct Exit Interviews?

Have we missed an important tip? Is there something you don’t agree with? How would you do it differently? Let us know in the comments below.


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