A lot can be learnt from exit interviews. Exit interviews are not a waste of time, although many deem them to be. It is an important exercise in order to determine if there is anything you can do differently going forward with your remaining team. It is important to remain impartial during the interview, and to ensure a balance between obtaining the relevant information whilst allowing the departing employee the positive closure they need.
The ultimate aim of the exit interview is to determine the reasons for the departure of your employee, on the basis that criticism is a useful driver for organisational improvement. A successful exit interview can give you an insight into the current working environment, culture, management approach and processes. Relationships amongst the team is a likely factor to be discussed. Some employees may be more forthcoming in providing information so do bare this in mind.
Try to keep the interview structured and contained. The objective of the meeting is to gain the relevant information. Ensure that the interview can:
- Identify what your organisation is doing well
- Identify any areas that can be improved
- Confirm the skills and experience a replacement employee will need in order take over the role and move forward.
- Provide an understanding to you of why the employee is leaving
- Allow the departing employee to say goodbye on good terms.
Finally, don’t take anything personally, and try to remain impartial. It can be difficult to hear an employee talking negatively about the organisation, but if this is the case, turn it around and use the information positively, make changes accordingly and move forward with the remaining team. Any feedback is useful whether positive or not.
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