Exit interviews provide organizations with a wealth of information about their operations without forcing them to spend a ton of money hiring consultants to assess business processes and company culture.
Because they’re conducted when employees have already put in their two-weeks notices, companies benefit from honest answers — these people have nothing to hide. Quite simply, exit interviews allow organizations to see exactly what it’s like to be in the trenches.
But exit interviews are only effective if interviewers ask the right questions. Here are five that should be included in each one of them:
1. What made you start looking for a new job?
In some instances, employees might leave because they were offered a well-paying job they had their eye on for a while. In other cases, they might leave because your company is dreadful to work for and they’ve been looking for a way out for months.
You can’t expect to keep all of your employees on board forever. But if a number of your workers are leaving because they simply don’t like your company, it’s time to switch things up.
2. Were you given the tools and support you needed to thrive in your role?
It’s 2016. Everybody knows about the myriad of tech gadgets and platforms out there all designed to increase productivity and make work easier. If departing employees overwhelmingly feel as though they were never given the tools they need to succeed, you need to start increasing your IT spend and investing in platforms that make sense for your company.
3. How would you describe our company culture?
According to our Employee Engagement Report, work culture is strongly correlated with worker happiness. The better the culture, the more likely employees are to be happier — which means the bigger chance they’ll stick around.
If you find out during every exit interviews that employees use words like “awful,” “toxic,” “depressing,” and “nasty” to describe your culture, don’t be surprised when more and more workers jump ship.
4. Would you recommend our company to a friend?
You can’t expect to attract top talent if all of your employees say there’s no way they’d ever encourage anyone to apply for a gig at your company. If departing employees answer accordingly, ask them what the company could do to make them change their minds. Some answers might include increasing pay, investing in professional development, or allowing employees to work from home occasionally.
5. What could the company have done better?
Even if your outgoing employees are leaving for normal reasons and very much value the time they spent working for you, it’s almost certain there are at least a few things that could be improved. If workers are leaving because they think your company is terrible, that’s a whole different story. In any case, this question should give you some ideas as to which areas you should focus on improving.
The answers given in exit interviews should give managers good insight into what’s working at their companies and what needs to be changed. If employers use the information they gain from these interviews to make the job more enjoyable for existing workers, they should see an increase in their retention statistics.