Quick Tips: 5 Questions to Ask in an Exit Interview

83252982When an employee quits, it always adds more stress to your workplace, even if you’re glad to see them go. But, in the hustle of wrapping up projects, shifting duties, and searching for a replacement, don’t miss out on the opportunity to glean what could be the most honest feedback you’ve ever gotten from an employee. Exit interviews offer you the chance to learn what your workers really think of your business and its practices, and while it is too late to stop that particular employee from leaving, it does arm you with the information you need to increase the retention of your remaining staff.

Check out these five, must-ask questions to maximize your exit interviews and the information you garner from them.

What is your reason for leaving?
Basic as it sounds, you’ve got to start somewhere, and this is the best place to begin. Most likely you’ll receive a pretty basic answer such as better pay or more opportunities, but don’t discount what the interviewee says. As you talk with the exiting employee, you’ll be able to use their initial response as a benchmark to judge their other answers. And, you really do want, and need, to know why they’re leaving since employee turnover is on the rise and costing employers in productivity and profitability.

Could your departure have been avoided?
Another reason you should conduct exit interviews is in an effort to learn of and address any harassment, discrimination, or retaliations taking place in the workplace. Their response may help you dig deeper into their reason for leaving and ensure there is no hidden causes that they’re afraid to talk about. It will also give you steps to take in order to hopefully stop other employees from leaving in the future.

What will your new position offer that your current one didn’t?
As the turnover battle heats up, you have to know what your competition is offering that you’re not. Certainly, there will be benefits or perks that you can’t offer due to financial or cultural reasons. But, at least you’ll know what you’re up against, and may even be able to make a few adjustments. For instance, you might not be able to offer a 36-hour work week, but you could offer a flexible work schedule of four 10-hour days.

What are we doing right?
This conversation shouldn’t be completely focused on bashing your company. You also want to hear what you’re doing right so you’re able to recognize your team’s strengths and can play off them as you work to retain other staff members and attract new employees. Most likely, every departing worker won’t give the same answer, but you’re goal is to look for and recognize patterns in their answers, both in what they do like and what they don’t.

Would you recommend this company to a friend?
This is a final shot at uncovering the employee’s reason for leaving, as well as how deep grievances run. There will always be turnover within every company, and some employees truly do leave on good terms, so this will provide insight into where they stand. If someone isn’t willing to recommend your business to a friend looking for work, there really is a problem that needs your attention.

Having that final conversation with a departing employee can be awkward, but don’t miss out on your chance to better your team and business. You might be surprised at how insightful, and helpful, the feedback could prove to be.

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