Exit interviews – we’ve all had one at some point in our careers. Usually conducted in the few days before you leave by your line manager, or perhaps a member of the HR team. An awkward conversation where you skirt around the real issue behind your departure and roll out stock phrases such as needing more money, wanting better prospects or wanting to be closer to home and family. However, it doesn’t have and nor should it be like that. An exit interview can give a wealth of information that can help improve retention and recruitment as well as increase motivation and engagement. But to do that, they need to be conducted properly, here are our top 3 reasons why you should outsource your exit interviews.
- Discover the real reasons why people are leaving – if your exit interviews are conducted by line managers then it is highly unlikely that you will get a truthful answer to the question ‘why are you leaving?’. You’ll be given a standard answer along the lines of ‘more money, better progression, closer to home’ what you won’t be told is the answer they tell their friends and family such as… ‘my manager isn’t pulling their weight and we’re all over worked’, ‘there is a culture of bullying within the team’, ‘I’m not being given the developmental support I need’ or ‘the company hasn’t embraced flexible working’.
Outsourcing the exit interview process to someone that isn’t directly linked with a team, department or organisation allows leavers to feel more comfortable being honest. Outsourced interviews are generally conducted once the employee has left, meaning there is no worry about the impact on references, time has passed for thought and reflection. Leading to a more considered answer rather than any given in the heat of the moment or with the fear of a poor reference. Outsourced exit interviews will allow you to get the real answer to the question ‘why are you leaving?’
- Independent and unbiased interviewing – if the reason an employee is leaving is the person sitting in front of them, or perhaps the boss of the person sitting in front of them. Then the likelihood of them being totally honest and telling that person the real reason behind their departure is slim. Also, if the person doing the interviewing is told that they or their boss are the reason, they perhaps won’t necessarily share the finer details of the conversation with their peers or superiors. By having an independent party conduct exit interviews you can be sure that findings are being reported in a fair and unbiased way without any other agenda playing a part.
- Useful and actionable insight – exit interviews are conducted to discover the reasons behind resignations and to highlight any issues so they can be rectified and hopefully, stop any further staff departures. However, if they aren’t conducted properly then the results will be of little use to business leaders. Just like recruitment interviews, there is a skill involved in conducting exit interviews properly. There needs to be a level of structure so there is consistency in the questions asked, so findings can be properly analysed. But there also needs to be a level of flexibility, where the interviewer is skilled enough to know when an answer needs more investigation. Here at Chiumento we believe there are 8 key areas that impact retention, we focus our questions around these and all findings are gouped into these areas. Allowing leaders to see where the issues may be and easily identify the short, medium and long-term changes to be made.
Well-structured, probing and independent exit interviews will provide real insight into why people are leaving and in turn, help to improve staff retention. We believe that they should be given the same amount of focus and attention that is placed on interviewing potential employees.
Are you getting the full story from your current exit process? We’ve been working with a number of clients looking to improve and/or outsource their exit interview process. We are happy to share what we’ve learned and offer some ideas. Just drop a note to email@example.com or give us a call on 0207 224 3307.