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The Importance of Exit Interviews

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Employees leaving an organisation is a part of life. 

But unfortunately, not all businesses are aware of the valuable insights to be gained when employees do leave their organisation. 

As a result of this often-neglected area, businesses aren’t reaping the benefits of an effectively managed departure process.

Successful organisations don’t simply focus on the acquisition of new employees or the maintenance of existing ones. In today’s environment, the HR function covers the full spectrum of the employee lifecycle: from joining a company, working at the company, leaving the company, and maybe one day returning.

Employees departing your business isn’t the end of the world. It can be the beginning of positive improvement and the connector of future prospects. 

What are Exit Interviews?

An exit interview is a meeting, discussion, or survey that an employee is asked to take part in when they’re about to leave a workplace, to share information about their experiences there.

Exit interviews aim to assist businesses to find out why an employee is leaving and learn about that individual’s time at the company. Exit surveys are also a chance for businesses to source feedback on different areas such as culture, management, structure, morale, and workload.

Frequently, exit interviews are organised by the human resources department but surveys may also be conducted through third-party companies. 

Technology can also be utilised in-house and become your one source of data-driven people management. 

Why do Exit Interviews matter?

Companies often undervalue the insight a departing employee can provide their organisation.

Don’t look at an exit interview as merely ticking a box in the human resource department. 

Think of it as an opportunity. Effective exit interviews provide:

Insights for improvement

An exit interview allows an employee to express how they truly feel without the awkwardness of doing so with their direct line manager. This results in more open dialogue as there are no consequences to their feedback.

It’s important that organisations view any negative feedback in a constructive way. This is your chance to now improve on your flaws to enhance the work life of your remaining employees and the new ones that come onboard.

Improving on these insights will increase your future retention rates.

“Turnover is a healthy and vital thing in organisations because it creates new opportunities for your staff to be promoted and for you to bring in new talent from the outside,” said talent strategist and company culture expert, Steve Cadigan.

Alternatively, positive feedback reinforces what you are doing well!

Allow quality talent to grow further and return

Sometimes, there is a ceiling for good talent within your organisation and they may be forced to look elsewhere for their next growth opportunity.

An exit interview allows you to understand these reasons. Don’t let the memory of outgoing talent fade away. Tech solutions allow you to build a corporate memory bank of the degree of talent that leaves you. 

Measure exit sentiment, the reason for leaving and assess their key skills. Track them over time and target them for rehire in the years to come. 

It's beneficial to listen and understand

There are many occasions where disgruntled have aired their frustrations in an online forum. Giving an employee an opportunity to be heard and understood can negate this from happening and protect your brand image in a public domain.

The power of referrals

The recommendation of an ex-employee on their old place of work is a highly valuable tool, as Cadigan explains.

“If the departure is a positive experience, your exiting star will be more inclined to help you, returning one day or referring other people to you. It’s crucial to embrace the many potential positive outcomes from a star leaving over your perception of loss.

“Maybe the person leaving can continue to provide value to you and your firm long after they depart, and they might perhaps even return one day.

“They can also serve as strategic advisers and referral engines for more exceptional talent to come your way.”

Don’t rely on memories. Utilise software.

Given the myriad of benefits of an effectively executed exit interview, it is imperative that the data is not lost and is managed successfully.

“Human memories have their limitations,” said Silverman. “This can be compounded over a period of time by turnover among employees responsible for administering employee records and by document retention policies of employers.”

Therefore, it is essential that organisations utilise enhanced digital technology such as Xref to effectively counter the problems that arise from manually sourced data and insights.

Online Survey platform provides businesses with a more complete corporate memory bank of your employees – both past and present.

We are the trusted home of your employee’s journeys from start to finish (and maybe back again).

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