How Exit Interviews Improve Employee Retention

How Exit Interviews Improve Employee Retention

Conducting exit interviews with employees who are leaving your organisation is an excellent way to improve employee retention in general. Some people will change jobs for reasons outside of their employer’s control, but many others will be able to provide vital insight into the on-the-ground culture of your company’s working environment. 

Exit interviews can uncover issues with employee morale and daily operations, as well as with management methods and the relationships between lower level employees and higher-ups. They can also highlight positive aspects of your company’s work culture too.

However, it is important that the departing employee feels that their input will be kept confidential to enable them to speak honestly. To this end, whichever member of management or HR is conducting the interview should create a safe and confidential environment for the exit interview. They should also approach the interview with an empathetic attitude and be well trained in active listening.

Let’s look closer at why exit interviews are essential to improve employee retention, and then we’ll suggest some of the best questions to ask departing employees to gain valuable insight into your work environment.


Why Exit Interviews Are Essential

The exit interview is a chance to deep dive into the employee’s reason for leaving your company. It will help identify areas that can be improved, such as working conditions and culture, and the effectiveness of those in leadership roles.

Insight into these issues from a departing employee can help management improve employee morale and motivation, as well as departmental or overall efficiency and coordination. In addition, such insight may reveal potential risks to the company such as harassment, bullying or discrimination.

An exit interview with an employee who is departing for greener pastures can also provide insights into how your organisation compares to competitors in terms of salaries and benefits. The employee may also be leaving because of a lack of potential career advancement, which is another issue that must be addressed to improve employee retention.


Questions to Ask in Exit Interviews

Obviously, the leading question will always revolve around the reason why the employee has decided to leave. Their reason might immediately require related questions to provide more detail, especially when serious issues or concerns have been raised.

Beyond this, exit interviewers should try to discern if the employee felt their work was valued and appreciated. Ask the employee to describe the company culture and any areas where they think it can be improved. Ask them if they always had the necessary support to perform their tasks effectively, and whether there is anything the company could have done differently to retain their employ.

Exit interviewers should specifically ask how the employee feels about their career advancement at the company, and whether they felt there was adequate support and opportunities.

It may also be advisable to ask how the employee feels about the onboarding process and how it might be improved. This is an especially important question for any employees departing after only a short time at the company.

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