Whether you like it or not, employees will probably leave your business at some stage in their career. (Not many people stick around forever and ever these days).
From personal reasons to a lack of opportunity, there’s usually a logical reason why.
But what is it?
Surprisingly, exit interviews aren’t as commonplace as you’d expect, which is shocking when you consider that the average UK staff turnover rate can exceed 75% in the first year of employment in London.
Here are a few top reasons why conducting one shortly after an employee hands in their notice is imperative to the longevity and success of your business.
1. It’s free
Most employees either struggle to communicate with their employer because they don’t possess an open door policy or they just find expressing feelings tricky.
However, a disgruntled departing employee won’t usually feel a need to hold back in an exit interview. You’ll gain raw and honest feedback on why they decided to continue their career elsewhere.
As a top tip, you should always let your employee know that their feedback won’t impact whether they are given a reference or not. After all, it’s benefiting your business at the end of the day. Once you’ve established this, they should feel more comfortable sharing their true opinions.
2. Gain a valuable insight into personnel
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the daily affairs of running a business. That can make it easy to forget to take a look at the dynamic or culture of your business.
One major issue in businesses is employing the wrong person for the wrong job.
Research from Resource Bank found that a poor management style is a common reason for employees leaving, with 42% putting it down to this very reason.
While the opinion of a departing employee might not always be completely reliable, it could spur you on to take a closer look at the performance of said manager or employee.
You’ll be surprised how much you notice once you’ve been made aware of something.
3. Discover the missing gaps
A more obvious inclusion, but one that is priceless, nonetheless.
According to the Employee Engagement Series by Kronos, 95% of HR managers believe that employee burnout is responsible for up to half of their annual workforce turnover.
Therefore, those departing employees who feel overworked or undervalued could give you a clear idea that you need to hire someone else in and/or alter the processes within the business.
Focusing on the work culture, benefits and way the business operates on a day to day basis can reduce high turnover rates.
4. Find a correlation
Exit interviews are a superb way of finding a pattern with departing employees. Try collating all of the information on an Excel spreadsheet under broad categories.
You should then be able to identify a trend which will allow you to target certain areas to improve.
For instance, a departing employee who says they weren’t challenged by the work could suggest that there’s an opportunity to push current workers to either hit higher targets or increase their responsibilities.
This will not only stretch and challenge them, but it won’t do your productivity or profits any harm either!
How to conduct an exit interview?
Once you’ve decided that an exit interview would be useful, it’s essential that you do it right. After all, as the famous saying goes: “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.
Firstly, like all well thought out processes, there’s a level of planning which needs to be done prior to the exit interview.
One of the key elements to this is time. Giving your departing employee plenty of notice will enable them to have a proper think about why they made their decision.
All exit interviews should be carried out in private, face-to-face and conducted professionally.
While you don’t want to sound like a robot during the interview, assembling a handful of questions to ask can allow you to get the kind of honest and reliable feedback you need to improve.
Recruiter Pro Tip
To give you an idea of the types of questions you should be asking in an exit interview, I’ve put together a few below:
- Under what circumstances would you consider returning to the business?
- Do you think you were well rewarded and recognised by management in your position?
- Do you think your job description was the same as it was originally advertised? If not, how has it changed?
- What did you enjoy most about working for us?
- Do you have any suggestions for improving employee satisfaction?
Following the exit interview, you should look to share relevant points with senior staff – excluding any confidential information.
However, any aspects which concern the way the business is run could make a significant difference going forward. It’s a good idea to discuss further and find ways to make positive changes.
So, hopefully now you’re prepared for if one of your employees decide to leave.
Whilst it’s never usually a good thing to lose people from your business, it’s important for both you and the employee to participate in the exit interview.
It’ll help reassure the person that you’re leaving on good terms, and give you an insight into your business too.
For more tips on how to improve the way your business operates, check out some of our previous blogs:
- ‘5 Ways to Build a Winning Company Culture’ – read more.
- ‘6 Ways to Keep Your Employees Motivated’ – read more.
- ‘6 Employee Benefits Big Brands Use to Improve Staff Retention’ – read more.
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