Exit interviews aren’t often given the focus and attention they’re due. Much time and effort is attributed to interviewing those staff that wish to join the company and to retaining them once they’re employed. Yet, often, once that letter of resignation has been handed in nothing more is done. However, exit interviews could hold the key to unlocking the reasons behind any recruitment or retention issues. But if you want to unlock these reasons then here are the top 3 exit interview mistakes you need to avoid.
- Line managers conducting exit interviews – the old saying people join organisations and leave managers is regularly quoted for a reason. It is often true. If line managers conduct exit interviews, and they are the main reason behind resignations either they won’t be told the truth or they may not share the findings with their peers or superiors. Line managers are too involved in the process to be able to effectively conduct an exit interview, doing so will just result in stock answers such as wanting more money, better promotional prospects etc. They won’t be told that their attitude and behaviour are the main reason behind resignations.
- Interviewing staff before they leave – once an employee has handed in their resignation they just want their notice period to be over as quickly and as quietly as possible. They don’t want to rock the boat, antagonise anyone nor say anything that may impact their reference. Waiting until employees have left allows for a worry-free interview, where they can confidently share the real reasons behind their departure without risk of recrimination.
- Inflexible interview structure – in order for interviews to be consistent and give results that can be analysed there obviously needs to be some form or structure and certain questions that are covered. However, if exit interviews consist of a tick box list of questions that can’t be deviated from, it runs the risk of the real reasons remaining hidden. There needs to be some flexibility that allows certain areas to be investigated in further depth and detail.
One way to avoid all these mistakes is to have your exit interview process conducted by an independent party. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0207 224 3307.