The Purpose Of Exit Interviews

Posted by Andy Dunscombe on Oct 19, 2015 11:35:00 AM


Employees who have resigned from a company have one last, very important gift they can give their employers. That gift the break room microwave. No, I'm kidding (although that would be nice, and think of the recommendations they would get from their boss and coworkers down the road!). That last important gift is an exit interview. Why an exit interview? I recently asked that question, and a few others, to Tonya McGriff-Stice, whose job title is Program Manager, Talent Acquisition for PSCU in Tampa. 

What are the purpose of exit interviews?

The overall purpose of the exit interview is an opportunity for us to identify gaps in our processes, better retain talent in the future and reduce turnover. We conduct them to determine if there are areas for improvement, whether it’s Onboarding, Recruitment, or within the specific department the employee is leaving. Perhaps the position responsibilities changed from when we first presented the opportunity, perhaps the new hire had a poor onboarding experience and never really felt a part of the organization, perhaps our employee value proposition is not as strong as we thought it was, or maybe it just wasn’t a good fit.

Should every company do exit interviews?

Yes, the feedback is valuable. I have learned so much from those conversations. I always ask if the role was as it was initially presented, if they had the tools and support to perform the role effectively, if the role responsibilities aligned with their personal goals, and if they would recommend us as a great place to work.

Are exit interviews only for employees who resign? Could they be used for employees that are terminated?

I would question the value and quality of the feedback from someone who is terminated- particularly if the person felt it was not justified or fair. Or, if the employee was part of a reduction in force. That can be an emotional experience, and frankly, asking that person to provide objective feedback may be too much to ask and inappropriate.

What do you do with the information you learn from exit interviews?

Process improvement. The data helps us to identify areas that need some work. We take that feedback, analyze, and use it to enhance and/or streamline existing processes, or eliminate outdated processes.

A big thank you goes out to Tonya for the thoughtful and informative responses.

If you are currently not using exit interviews at your company, I highly suggest doing so. As Tonya mentioned, they can be a great way to determine what areas of your company may need some improvement.

Related Content:

3 Things To Include In A New Hire Onboarding Guide

What To Do When A Key Employee Resigns

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