Aside from a desire to improve the workplace, there are other reasons companies hold these meetings. SHRM advises that good exit interview practices reduce employment practice liability and can help protect companies against costly legal action by a disgruntled employee. Other risks for the employee include bridge-burning, especially if the employee chooses to vent his repressed feelings during the interview.
Motives behind Conducting Exit Interviews
Exit interviews, usually conducted by a human resource manager, an affirmative action officer, or the immediate employer. Here are some of the reasons why exit interviews are important:
- They reduce employee turnover and improve retention of useful employees.
- Exit interviews provide valuable information as to how to improve recruitment and induction of new employees.
- Exit interviews are an excellent catalyst for identifying specific mistakes and improvement opportunities in this vital area of management development and succession.
Tips for Human Resource Managers for Conducting Face-to-Face Interviews Effectively
- Begin with a positive note. Treat each employee with dignity and respect.
- Include the letter of resignation with the termination paperwork.
- Basic administrative tasks: final paycheck; inform the employee about his benefit payments; retrieve keys, identification cards and other company properties.
- Obtain forwarding address, and if appropriate, name and address of the new employer.
- End the meeting with a positive tone and if appropriate, ask employees to recommend people to be hired.
- You cannot compel a departing employee to attend exit interviews; although the return of files, paperwork, and material is normally something that an employer rightfully can insist.
- Use the word “why” if you want to probe, especially if the first answer is vague or superficial. Questions beginning with “what” and “how” are better for getting people to think and convey to you properly and honestly about their views.
- Recrimination, blame, revenge and spite are destructive feelings and behaviors, so resist any temptation to go all out guns blazing. Be calm, fair, objective, and as helpful as possible.
In short, exit interviews, which are helpful in ascertaining valuable feedback from departing employees, should be handled with care by human resource managers. As a human resource manager, one should learn to respect a departing employee’s privacy and intelligence.