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How to Benefit from Exit Interviews

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Wouldn’t it be great to have honest, relevant, and applicable feedback on your business? Of course it would! Who couldn’t benefit from insight into where they’re excelling and where they can improve?

Enter: the exit interview. 

Exit interviews are a valuable resource for enhancing your organization. But it’s important to make sure that you’re conducting them in a way that allows you to reap the benefits.  

Read on to find out why this process can help build better teams and how to make the most out of them.  

5 Benefits of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews can help you convert attrition into an opportunity for growth. They have a myriad of benefits for your teams—including stronger leadership, boosted culture, and better retention rates.  

Honest Feedback

Without fear of their career being at stake, people are more likely to be honest in their feedback. Exit interviews can seem uncomfortable, but as long as you shift the mindset from confrontation to an open conversation, there’s a lot to gain from them. These people worked for you—they have first-hand experiences with your teams, and they can share that knowledge with you. 

Productive and authentic growth are far more achievable with true, honest feedback. 

Leadership Development 

Through an exit interview, a former employee can outline areas where leadership is succeeding and areas where they are not. Are they motivating teams and developing them professionally? Are they micromanaging, or not managing enough?  

Exit interviews provide insight into leadership styles and their effectiveness. When leaders implement this feedback, the whole company improves. 

Company Culture  

Exit interviews can give you a glimpse into ways your company culture may need improvement. You’ll receive a first-hand account of how this individual perceived the company culture as well as how it affected them. This makes exit interviews a valuable tool in boosting your company culture by hearing what you’re doing well and what you could be doing better. 

And healthy company culture, paired with stronger leadership, is going to help you attract and retain top talent in the future.  

Benchmarks 

The most common reason for leaving a current role, is for a new one. If the individual is comfortable sharing these details, then an exit interview can tell you how competitive you are with other employers. Exit interviews can provide market info like salary, benefits, and other offerings to attract new talent. Knowing where people want to work can give your organization an example to follow. 

Building Lasting Relationships

People will remember how they were treated as they left a company. When you honor the conclusion of their employment with dignity and respect, they’re more likely to share their positive experiences with job seekers in their network. Or, maybe even return in the future. Don’t count out the benefits of boomerang employees! 

5 Tips for Successful Exit Interviews

Conducting interviews that are impersonal, or conducting them without analyzing the data, can make them inefficient or unsuccessful. That’s why it’s vital that your exit interviews are executed properly–with consideration, respect, and an open mind.  

Use a Survey 

Even though employees are more likely to be honest if they’re no longer working for you, in-person feedback can be uncomfortable for some. Using a survey is a great way to maneuver around those uncomfortable feelings, while still gaining valuable feedback. 

Use Open-Ended Questions

Asking yes or no questions, or leading questions, can affect the areas of feedback you receive. These types of questions can also limit the conversation, and potentially the level of honesty.  

Try using questions that are open-ended and allow the individual to express likes, dislikes, and concerns that are specific to their experience. Not only does it give them a better platform, it can also open your eyes to areas you hadn’t yet considered. 

Include Human Resources (HR) 

HR is dedicated to protecting employees, and that courtesy should be extended even as they’re leaving. Including HR in the exit interview process will help you create a safe, welcoming environment for the person to share their thoughts.  

Create an Open and Professional Environment 

Exit interviews should remain as professional as possible. It may be easy to feel disappointed or even offended by any negative feedback but do your best to keep those feelings separate from this conversation.  

To do this, it’s helpful to shift your perspective. Rather than viewing any negative feedback as an insult—view it as an opportunity. Now you know how to do better, and that kind of insight is invaluable to the future of your business. 

Leave it on a Good Note 

Don’t close the door on any future opportunities to work together! Boomerang employment is a major trend right now. More and more people are leaving companies for new roles, only to return to their former employer. Plus, people are more likely to share positive experiences this way. 

By leaving the exit interview on a good note, you can avoid burning any bridges—or receiving any unfavorable company reviews online.  

Be Intentional with Exit Interview Questions 

The questions you use are crucial in making the most out of your exit interviews. They should be fitted to your team, your organization, and most importantly, the individual you’re interviewing. While there are some general questions to ask in every exit interview, be sure to include some that are specific to their role, department, or leadership. 

Check out this list of 12 exit interview questions to get you started. 

Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Improve 

Not analyzing data collected from exit interviews, failing to implement the feedback you receive, or not conducting them altogether—is a missed opportunity. From culture to business strategy, gaining insight from former employees is a way to ensure that your business continues to grow and improve. 

If you need HR support to achieve effective exit interviews, we’re here to help. 

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