An employee will leave a company for a wide number of reasons, but what are those reasons? Is there a rumor that employees leave your company for the competitor down the street for more money, when in fact they just feel underappreciated? How will you know the difference if you don’t ask, and more importantly, how will you fix what you don’t know? The answer: conduct an exit interview
The only way to ensure good talent doesn’t leave is to actively fix the issues that are causing employees to walk out the door. It is easy to blame employee turnover on speculation, such as they didn’t seem to get along well with others, or they didn’t seem to really like their position. The real issue could be the employee had little to no training and didn’t understand the essentials of their position. Once the real reasons of turnover have been determined, management and human resources should work together to ensure issues are remediated. What’s the point in learning about a problem if it isn’t fixed? Taking the time to sit with employees and discuss their employment experience can be fruitful for both the manager and employee. The list below describes just some of the reasons exit interviews are so important.
1. What does your company do well? Good data about your company walks out the door once the employee leaves. Maybe there is a manager that excels at developing employees or the flexible scheduling is what most employees love about your company. These are good tidbits you might already have wind of but, having concrete data that shows employees love them is important to have. Good data also walks out the door once the employee leaves.
2. Last chance to make a good impression. While there are occasions that an employee may leave due to no fault of the company, if an employee is disgruntled, the exit interview may be the last opportunity to hear out and smooth out any issues. A dissatisfied employee may have no issue telling their neighborhood about ABC Company’s crass managers, for example. In turn, bad publicity may deter others from applying for open positions, thus prolonging any recruiting pains.
3. Employee relations are on the line. Other employees may get wind, that “HR didn’t even schedule and exit interview”. By listening to employees throughout the exit process, you are also demonstrating to current employees that you take their thoughts and concerns seriously.
4. Wouldn’t you rather know than not? If you had something in your teeth, wouldn’t you like to know? This holds true with what employees say about your organization when they are online or chatting about you with a friend. If your organization is known as the company in town with the worst benefits, wouldn’t you like to know so that you could make improvements to your benefit program?
5. Don’t just check-in with an employee when they decide to leave. As a precursor to exit interviews, have regular check-ins with employees. If the exit interview is the first time that you have sat down with an employee and asked how it is going, well that might be a reason the employee is leaving. Conduct regular check-ins with your employees to get a feel about how things are going, are there any hurdles they are experiencing, or areas issues they need help with?
6. Perfect time to tie up loose ends. After an employee leaves, there may have questions about health insurance coverage, retirement plan transfers or how make the company aware of a new address. The final exit interview is a perfect time to cover all the “what happens now” questions.
There are a million reasons to listen to your employees, though it is not always easy. Without a doubt exit interviews can be time consuming for managers and HR, but without taking a deeper look at why employees leave the organization, more employees are likely to leave for those very same reasons.
See this related article from AgCareers.com.
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