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A dialogue on exit interviews

May 1, 2015

exit feedback pic

One of my ex-manager always addressed Exit interview as feedback interview. In his words “Exit interviews are not to know why employee is leaving but to understand what made  his stay with the organization comfortable or uncomfortable”. I always consider it the best mindset to conduct an exit interview.

What is the best time and way to conduct an exit interview? You might like the post I shared before on some mistakes HR makes in an exit process.There are many questions that come up every time with the topic…

Should exit interviews be conducted on internal movement?

For HR department, exit interviews hold relevance when an employee is leaving the organization but do we consider asking employee feedback on transfer or internal hiring? As a practice, HR doesn’t ask for a feedback when an employee is promoted or transferred to a new department or project because in HR terms internal movement is not an exit. But for an organization actually aiming at improving processes and people, every opinion matters must be recorded for analysis.

Should you ask employee for feedback on the day he is leaving?

That is how is was being done since the beginning, asking a leaving employee to complete the exit interview form on the last day of his employment. It is considered a fair chance for a face to face interaction with the departing employee but the responses can’t really be trusted always because

  • Employees might not be honest considering their final settlements still to be done.
  • Employees leaving over some dissatisfaction might respond under impulse (you can’t trust such response either)

Should you ask employee for feedback some days later?

Some organisations now ask for an exit feedback few days after the employee has left or sometimes even after his final settlement is done in hope of getting an honest opinion. Smart move.. employees can really open up as they have no inhibitions. The only shortcoming here, lesser chance for F2F meeting and  employee might lose interest to share feedback once he is gone already.

Should you ask for feedback from terminated/laid off employee?

Can you really do anything for the leaving employee, is the feedback really helpful, do you really want to discuss the feedback with someone who had been fired? Not really and it would not be an unbiased response either. Exit interview form can better be pulled out from the rest of the exit checklist.

How to help employees to share an open and honest feedback?

Employees are able to share a fair opinion only when you trust that it won’t affect their association with the organization and future career move. To build and maintain this trust, you have to set example of being an ingenuous organization caring for its employees and alumni alike.

The best approach to exit interview depends on what and why an organization wants to know from a departing employee and how serious it is to consider improvement based on analysis.

You have more thoughts on the topics, lets discuss…

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