How Exit Interview Process is Essential for Companies

The Definitive Guide for Effective Employee Exit Interviews

Shivasankari Bhuvaneswaran

November 12th, 2019 Employee Offboarding  

The steep rise in the ‘churn and burn’ rate is an ever-growing concern for all HR leaders. It can be impossible to retain a person who is intent on leaving your organization, but understanding the reason why he or she decided to quit will help you rein in your churn rate. This is where employee exit interviews play an integral role in employee offboarding.

When appropriately handled, the exit interview process is a golden opportunity to reveal why your employee turnover is swelling at an alarming rate. But most organizations seem to consider these treasures as a pointless endeavor that give out conflicting or vague insights. Due to the mounting pressures from other aspects of their work environment, the HR team often does the bare minimum needed to complete the task.

Instead of blatantly disregarding exit interviews as a lost cause,

  • try to find out how to derive desired results from them.
  • Where does the problem lie in the current process?
  • What makes an employee withhold their true views even when they are about to leave your organization?
  • What are they concerned about and how do you alleviate those concerns?
  • Does your typical face-to-face approach make your employees feel hesitant to share their opinions candidly?
  • Or is your thick questionnaire booklet killing their brain cells with repeated and mundane questions?
  • Is the background noise and use of colloquialism making phone interviews a huge no-no?

Before you start pondering over the problems in the current system and look for ways to solve them, take a minute to understand why exit interview process is an essential part of the offboarding process and what exactly they are all about.

Problems in the present exit interview process

Most organizations take a conservative approach towards exit interview process.

Manual exit interviews:

  • Make people hesitant to share information
  • Can be a time-consuming affair
  • Are siloed, and so it is hard to track information
  • Complicate the process of compiling, tracking, and analysing data
  • They are not ready to spend additional resources digitizing something as seemingly inconsequential as exit interviews.
  • And so, they conduct exit interviews in-person, over the phone, and on paper forms.

Are exit interviews really important in the offboarding process?

The exit interview process is the most commonly used method to gather employee feedback. When employees don’t rely on your organization for their livelihood, they’re more likely to provide honest and constructive feedback. Not everyone will speak forthrightly about an organization and its culture, but your best bet is usually with a worker who won’t face any consequences for sharing his/her honest opinion.

If you want to uncover valuable information through your exit interviews, you need to focus on two crucial factors: getting genuine answers to your questions and aggregating the data in an easy-to-interpret way. Digitizing your exit interview and automating it to analyze the data will make it more efficient. It also eases the workload that your HR staff have to face.

Offboarding checklists offer accurate data to evaluate the quality of work-life within an organization and pinpoint problems associated with employee retention and engagement.

Solid employee exit interview data gives the HR department a lot of valuable insight. They can:

  • Discover flaws in current management policies
  • Reveals patterns in employee resignations
  • Highlight opportunities available for employee development
  • Offer employees the opportunity to share constructive criticism
  • Provide insights to improve your recruiting, onboarding, and employee training process
  • Detect opportunities for improvement in your organization’s culture.

How to plan your exit interview

The departing employee should be given enough time to have the chance to think about their answers to the questions to ensure that you get good quality, well thought-out feedback.

Listed below are the seven best practices for conducting an effective exit interview:

  1. Organize exit interviews face to face
  2. Allow a two-way, effective conversation
  3. Encourage openness by ensuring confidentiality
  4. Ask appropriate and useful questions
  5. Don’t just document feedback analyze it to find turnover trends
  6. Create and implement a retention plan to solve recurring issues
  7. Keep it natural and don’t force employees to share

With the help of exit interview best practices outlined above you can garner honest feedback that will form the cornerstone of the exit interview process.

What does an automated exit interview look like?

It starts with an automated form for the departing employee to fill out. It’ll already have all their important data already populated. Then, the information can be sent to a manager, who can use that data to conduct a live interview to get more qualitative answers. These answers also go on the same form. Dropdowns and checkboxes can be used to categorize responses for future reference.

All of this data is automatically sent to the HR team. This appears on a master spreadsheet that analyzes trends in responses.

In addition to this, automating exit interviews online can:

  • Make employees comfortable sharing sensitive information
  • Sort and compile information automatically for tracking
  • Provide instantaneous, easy-to-read reports
  • Spot trends in employee departures
  • Make it easy to compare data and acquire actionable insights
  • Offer employee self-service options and ease the burden of Human Resource(HR) team.
  • Increase participation rate in exit surveys

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Methods of conducting an exit interview

There are a few different methods with that to conduct an exit interview; each has its advantages and disadvantages. When what method is used should be decided by each company depending on their individual situation during the offboarding.

1. On paper

The first is on paper, using an exit interview template, whereby an employee’s manager hands them the questions on a sheet of paper and asks them to fill it in and return it. This is quite a manual process and it is also difficult for the organization to track and analyze the results and any subsequent trends across the wider business.

Pros: Always accessible, simple to create and manage, and no risk of data corruption

Cons: Data entry errors, high risk of being lost or misplaced, and susceptible to natural calamities

2. Face-to-face

Another method of conducting exit interviews is face to face. This method is a great way to build rapport between the interviewer and interviewee and perhaps gain some more in-depth and valuable answers and information about the employee’s views. On the downside, much depends on the skill of the exit interviewer to get the individual to open up to them and it can also lack confidentiality and take up valuable HR manpower.

Pros: Chance for personal interaction, capture non-verbal cues, and increase trust

Cons: Relatively higher cost, time consuming in nature, and subject to interviewer bias

3. Interactive

Finally, many organizations use interactive, web-based exit interview software. This can be a great way to encourage individuals to give honest and direct answers to exit interview questions as they have the time and privacy to consider them. The organization can also track the results to get a handle on headline reasons for leaving across the company.

Pros: Ensure consistency, easily retrieve actionable insights, and can prompt genuine answers

Cons: Difficult to build rapport with exit employees and risk of employees getting complacent

Asking the Right Questions

Asking the right questions in an exit interview makes all the difference–after all, you can only get out what you put in.

1. Questions to ask

Focus on questions relating to the reasons why the employee is leaving and what their biggest areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the organization relate to. And don’t forget to ask them how they feel the business could make changes for the better–exiting staff are often more likely to give you the honest feedback that current employees won’t.

2. Questions not to ask

And what about what not to ask? Questions about office gossip are a no-go, as are personal questions about the employee’s relationship with particular colleagues or managers. Remember not to use leading questions if you want to get impartial and honest answers in return.

Automated exit interview process

Cloud-based HR tools like Kissflow HR Cloud will not only notify stakeholders about the resignation or termination of an employee, but also initiate an exit interview process offering employees the opportunity to give feedback.

Here’s what an exit interview process in Kissflow HR Cloud looks like:

  • Once an offboarding process is initiated (voluntarily or involuntarily), the leaving employee will automatically receive exit interview documentation
  • The exit interview documentation will typically consist of an exit interview template or questionnaire which covers common exit interview questions that are formed to identify their decision to leave.
  • Once the employee successfully completes the exit interview questionnaire, their answers will be forwarded to relevant stakeholders for perusal
  • Simultaneously, the system will collect and store exit interview answers that can be analyzed to retrieve actionable insights about employee pulse and exit patterns.

What are the common questions asked in an exit interview?

You can’t find answers to questions you don’t raise. It helps to prepare an exit interview questionnaire that asks the right questions. This way, you can gather data from departing employees.

Here are a few frequently asked exit interview questions:

  1. Why did you decide to quit?
  2. What would make you stay?
  3. Did you have any issues with your supervisor/manager?
  4. Were your role and expectations communicated clearly?
  5. What did you like/dislike about our organization?
  6. Did you receive the resources required to perform your job properly?
  7. How would you describe our company’s culture?
  8. Would you recommend our organization to your friend?
  9. If offered an opportunity, would you come back to work with us?
  10. What are the key qualities we should look for when hiring your replacement?

Ease the trials of exit interview process using automation

Are you interested in implementing a strategic and effective exit interviews that yields ongoing and long-term benefits? Tired of using inflexible forms with irrelevant data fields? Then, it is time to make your exit interview process painless with the power of automation.

When it comes to automating your exit interview process, you can take two roads. You can either choose a standalone exit interview app and take the easy way out. Or, choose an all-in-one HR suite like Kissflow HR Cloud and streamline your HR processes end to end.

Kissflow HR Cloud offers valuable insights that unlock the reason behind unwanted attrition and identify troubles that prompt top performers to quit. With Kissflow HR Cloud, businesses get a better understanding of the employee pulse, improve organizational practices, and strengthen the work culture.

If your exit interviews are not as smooth as you want it to be, take Kissflow HR Cloud for a spin and easy-button your offboarding process.

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