Why you should be doing exit interviews.

Nobody likes doing exit interviews - you know, the meetings that happen after someone on your team turns in their two weeks’ notice. 

When people leave, there are lots of emotions involved, and most of them aren’t pleasant. 

This is because departures often follow performance issues, where frustrations have been building for a long time. They may also occur when there is an issue with fit - which is a generalized term that suggests the person didn’t mesh well with the culture - which is another term that often isn’t well understood. Sometimes, exits occur when coveted key talent is lured away by a dream opportunity or a juicy compensation package.

Regardless of the reason - when someone leaves, there is disruption on your team and most people are focused on how the work will get covered instead of leaning into this opportunity.

“What opportunity?” you might be thinking to yourself.

When someone leaves, you have the chance to learn new things about what it is like to work for your organization, and with those nuggets of truth, you can make changes to improve retention going forward.

Here are a few learnings from the exit interview process that can inform and guide us:

  • Compensation was below market.
  • A competitor nets your key talent - who are they, and what tactics did they use?
  • Benefits were highly attractive - what’s on the forefront, what’s trending?
  • The impact of issues such as lack of flexibility.
  • Lack of real, or perceived opportunities for development.
  • The manager did not effectively engage and develop their team.

The exit interview also provides us with an opportunity to learn about the culture of the work team. With the culture being the unwritten rules and behaviors operating in the organization, and that are oftentimes hard to discern. 

For instance, the culture within a given organization might be that it is okay to cut corners on quality in order to be more profitable. An employee that has a strong work ethic, pride in their work, or sense of integrity, might be put off by this culture. However, leadership might not be aware of these nuances. Giving these insights daylight can help adjust the way that priorities are communicated, and how rewards and recognition systems are structured. Not only will this improve business performance, but in the future you will be able to keep the type of employees that are critical to your success. 

Mine your exit interviews for gold.

Understanding the root causes of turnover gives you the roadmap to build a better organization. 

Some of the more common causes to consider include:

  • Your salary structure is out of whack. 
  • Your managers need better training and support. 
  • Your benefits need a fresh look. 
  • You need a better plan for engaging with remote employees. 

In each case, you can put your company’s turnover intelligence to work for you, and strengthen opportunities for growth and retention.

Want to dive deeper?

Here are some free resources we can provide for you:

  • Offboarding Checklist
  • Exit Interview Questionnaire
  • Employee Engagement White Paper

Want to take your employee engagement and retention plan to the next level?

Here are some ways that we can help:

  • HR one-hour “Quick chat” to talk about your employee retention situations - $150
  • Onboarding and Offboarding mini-audit  - special pricing of $100 for the month of May (use promo code MayAudit).
  • Employee retention strategy designed for your culture and organization - $1000

Let us know how we can help! Schedule an appointment with our HR expert, or call us at (734) 747-2936 to determine if this is the right fit for you!

Next month I’ll be musing about workplace culture. Do you have a question that I can answer - send it to me at Amy@AmyCellTalent.com.


Article Tags:
Share This Article:
About The Author: Amy Cell

Amy Cell is a renowned and passionate pioneer in HR and Talent initiatives. She also leads an innovative consulting firm that specializes in recruiting and HR services for startups, small businesses, and municipalities.

View Bio