Exit interviews can sometimes be ugly or uncomfortable affairs. Sometimes just getting the employee to participate can be a challenge. Given the difficult nature of these interviews, it is important to make them as profitable as possible for the employee and the company. You need to ask questions that will bring responses to help you with future employee relations, hiring, and retention.
You may want to tailor the specific questions to fit your exact company situation. Certain types of questions need to be asked to determine the cause of the resignation, the mood of the departing employee, and to highlight any potentially problematic areas or people still within the company. If you can accomplish all of these, you will have conducted a very good employee exit interview. You need to get at least two of the three adequately covered. Always try to end the interview on a positive note. Even the most disgruntled employee usually has something about the employment experience he or she liked. Pull that back in at the end to let the employee leave thinking as positively about the company as possible.
Obviously, one question that cannot be overlooked is to ask why the employee is leaving. This may bring a fountain of complaints and concerns to the surface. You will want to expand this question by asking about specific areas that have been mentioned. Don’t be afraid to probe a little.
Try not to appear to be targeting any one specific person. If the ex-employee felt that person was a friend, you will cut off discussion. If the person turns out to be an enemy, the responses won’t be very helpful. Concentrate on the why’s and what’s rather than individuals. You can follow the interview later with an investigation if you feel a specific person is creating problems leading to turnover.
If money is the issue, ask questions to find out what type of increase in pay and benefits the person will be receiving. You may not get complete answers. The idea is to find out if you are losing many employees because you don’t pay them enough, or benefits are too meager. Learning this information is important to getting high-quality new employees, as well as, employee retention.
Ask what improvements could be done to make your business more employee friendly. This could lead to anything from more soap in the restroom to better parking to replace the management. Just be prepared for about anything.
If it isn’t volunteered, inquire about who the new employer will be. They may not be willing to answer this. However, if they do, it can help you watch for raids by competitors to steal your valuable employees. This hurts you and helps them.
The rest of the questions should be kept to specifics about leftover business, such as, retirement accounts, insurance conversion, etc.