Why the exodus? These exit interview techniques make it clear
Why do workers leave? Here’s how to ensure your exit interviews provide the answers.
Why do workers leave? Here’s how to ensure your exit interviews provide the answers:
• Get outside help. Short-circuit emotions by using an objective third party to conduct exit interviews. Departing workers are more likely to believe confidentiality claims of vendors who have no stake in their comments. And interviewees will be less inhibited with interviewers who are compiling data rather than collecting gossip or defending the company.
• Escape immediate surroundings. Treat exit interviews with the same confidentiality shown performance appraisals or disciplinary meetings. Don’t allow departing workers to become intimidated by passing traffic or big ears in nearby cubicles. Hold interviews in a conference room, café, or park where people can speak freely.
• Compile useful data. Create a written policy explaining that exit interviews will be used to compile data that will be reported in composite form only. Don’t share plans to use exit data to investigate specific problems or individuals. Make sure data is reliable by using a uniform questionnaire.
• Let time work its magic. If you insist on conducting face-to-face interviews with departing workers on their final day of service, you’ll probably get a high level of participation. But you probably won’t get an accurate assessment of why these people are leaving. Departing workers may be bitter about personal conflicts or the company’s failure to, say, make a counteroffer. Or they may be caught up in the emotions of their good-bye parties. Wait long enough for them to gain perspective and feel confident that burning a bridge won’t damage their careers, then mail your questionnaire. Increase the likelihood of a response by offering a cash bonus or gift certificate to those who return the survey. Even if your response rate declines, you’ll know the responses you do receive will be more likely to offer useful insight.
—Adapted from the People First Solutions website
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