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What Do You Really Learn from Exit Interviews?

What do we really learn from exit interviews?

Many organizations conduct interviews of employees that are leaving the organization. But why? Generally we find that the interview occurs, data goes into a drawer, and that’s the end of the story. There is no real value gained by gathering information from employees that you already know aren’t happy.

The trend today is to conduct “stay interviews.” More directed than an employee engagement survey, the stay interview allows HR and your managers to talk to your employees about the things that are important to them… while there is still time to fix the issues that may exist.

Forbes had an article on this very topic in April. They agree that by having an open and honest conversation your organization is in the best position possible to address employee issues. It is not uncommon for us to find that we already offer what the employee is looking for – we may not have done a sufficient job communicating the benefit to the employee. The Stay Interview will also provide a time for employee and manager to have a conversation that is not judgmental or confrontational, but rather productive and with an eye on making everyone’s job a little better.

A good stay interview is about gathering data and making decisions that will impact the business. For this reason, you want to have a set of questions that can be answered by many employees. Consider this list which offers a good range of questions that can be used by most businesses. Gather data over a short period of time and then review the results.

It is CRITICAL that at the end of the period that you are speaking with employees you provide feedback. This can be a memo from management, and should be stated in a way that shows appreciation for the feedback – but finality in the decisions that have been made. It is not necessary to implement every idea your employees have, but they need to know that you considered their thoughts and made decisions that you feel will impact the business.

Photo by Stefan Powell adapted under the following license

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Lori Kleiman took HR topics and brought them to reality for our small business. Anything we had a question about, she not only had an answer for, but a practical application that we could implement without trouble or cost. Lori really knows the day to day issues of a small business.
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