You're experiencing high turnover. Employees are quitting. Do you
really know why employees leave your company? Do you have a system in
place to talk candidly with departing employees?*
has shown most employers are extremely surprised when presented the
results of an Exit Interview Survey. Exit interviews are a good source
for information on the causes of turnover. No employee should be
allowed to terminate without an honest exit interview.
managers resist taking time for exit interviews, because they find the
exiting employees a little hesistant to speak their minds. In any case
the exit interview done by someone other than the direct supervisor
provides better information. Doing this also helps to place the
ex-employee more at ease with the process and removes any hint of
Contrary to popular belief, most past employees
completing an exit interview process do not use it to provide
inaccurate or exaggerated information. While a few disgruntled
individuals will be negative for spiteful reasons, many people welcome
the opportunity to present valuable feedback in a straight forward
manner - if - this is very important - if the questions are presented
to them in a confidential, positive, objective manner.
or both may be used to conduct exit interviews. In all cases, it must
be stressed that the information provided by the past employee will be
kept strictly confidential.
You may uncover internal
personnel/payroll department (MIS) problems when formulating a list of
past employees (over the last 12 months). We have found that many
companies' information database is not accurately and timely updated
which presents problems when assembling a past employee roster. If you
find and rectify this problem... you're already "miles ahead" in
improving the service of your operation. Considering federal wage/tax
payroll filing requirements, inaccurate records could present many
problems for your organization in the future.
We suggest implementing a policy for exit interviews to be conducted within 90 days of an employee's departure.
timely information is much more valuable, especially if a theme of
issues surface, sometimes it is much easier to gather information once
some time has passed. Often, the intervening time removes any
hesistancy to be honest. Additionally, when the interviews occur around
90 days, individuals give a pretty accurate appraisal of their
The primary purpose of the exit interview
has always been to help settle any unresolved or outstanding issues
between both the employer and employee. Asking questions directly helps
determine the actual reasons for the individual's resignation. Because
employees usually do not want to burn any bridges back to the
organization, it is important to sincerely explain that the purpose of
the interview is to help improve the workplace and therefore truthful
answers about their reasons for leaving will be the most helpful in
this improvement process.
By taking this positive approach to
exit interviews, many ex-employees are willing to point at deficiencies
in the company, i.e., "poor management or supervision," "complete lack
of supervison and support," "poor communication," etc.
with this sort of information an organization can make an honest
appraisal about itself and use this information to make corrections
It is important to remember that some
employees move on for very legitimate reasons related to their tenure
with your organization. They could be making changes in job interests,
or they might be moving out of the area, or any number of other
On occasion we have seen employees who have
had work-issues for several months, which he or she could not resolve,
and remained quiet about the difficulties. In the end, they decided
that it was better to "switch than to fight." Depending on the issues,
there are occasions where a good employee might see fit to return if
situations change. An exit interview might be one way to leave that
Exit Interviews should be voluntary. The information
collected must be disseminated only to those who need to know. The
ex-employee should be made aware that information will remain
confidential and where appropriate might be used to improve the
organization's understanding about itself, which could lead to changes
in the organization itself.
* May include transferred or promoted positions.