The Exit Interview – A Valuable Tool For Reducing Turnover

The exit interview is often overlooked as an extremely valuable retention and organizational effectiveness tool. The purpose of exit interviews is to understand individuals’ perceptions and experiences and get feedback about the job the employee held, the work environment, and the organization. A well-crafted exit interview system can help reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction and commitment.

The exit interview should be positive, relaxed, and ensure that employee leaves on a good note. It’s great PR. Some employees may even decide to return to your company at a future point in their career.

An exit interview can be conducted face to face, by telephone and/or by questionnaire. There is a new wave in outsourcing telephone exit interviews, direct-mail questionnaires, or electronic questionnaire forms. Some organizations choose to send questionnaires 1-3 months afterwards, allowing the former employee to honestly reflect on their experiences, once detached from the situation. As with 360 feedback, keeping exit interviews anonymous can provide more accurate and measurable responses.

Ask yourself the reason for the exit interview. Are there new training initiatives your company is considering? Would the results from the exit interviews help guide objectives? Exit interviews can be extremely helpful in understanding turnover rate, improving recruitment, hiring, and orientation programs.

Exit Interview Questions – Samples

Listed below are sample questions to ask departing employees. Use these questions as a guide for dialog.

1. What is your overall impression of our organization?

2. What was most satisfying about your job or what did you like most about working here?

3. What was least satisfying about your job or what did you like least about working here?

4. What would you change about your job?

5. Did your job duties turn out to be as you expected?

6. Did you receive enough training to do your job effectively?

7. Did you receive adequate support to do your job?

8. Did you receive sufficient feedback about your performance between merit reviews?

9. What would you improve to make our workplace better?

10. What was the quality of the supervision you received?

11. What could your immediate supervisor do to improve his or her management style?

12. Based on your experience with us, what do you think it takes to succeed at this company?

13. Did any company policies or procedures (or any other obstacles) make your job more difficult?

14. Would you consider working again for this company in the future?

15. Any other comments?

Are you an HR Director or Manager? Are you just developing your HR division? Take the time to implement or revise your exit interview strategy. Understanding why employees leave can save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars in recruitment and training.