You know why you’ve hired someone. But why does that person leave your business? Unless you’ve laid them off, you may be left clueless.
Enter the exit interview—that final face-to-face meeting with a departing employee. The valuable information they provide can improve your business, allowing you to retain current employees and attract quality workers for future job openings.
- Make it voluntary. Don’t put pressure on the person to participate in the meeting, but position it as a positive learning experience for both sides.
- Keep it private. Choose a quiet place at your store, away from other employees and customers.
- Tread neutral ground. Whoever conducts the interview should be someone who’s gotten along well with the employee.
- Start out easy. Begin with small talk to make the person as comfortable as possible.
- Welcome honesty. Encourage the person to share their true feelings and reasons for leaving, and assure them there will be no negative consequences.
- Listen actively. Let the person do most of the talking, and remain open and nonjudgmental so they’re more apt to reveal.
- Be respectful. Honor the employee’s willingness to tell as much as they’re comfortable sharing.
- Take notes. Assure the employee that your notes will be added to those of other employees, to examine overall trends.
- Avoid conflict. If you disagree with something the person says, tell them so, but don’t be defensive or aggressive.
- Tie up loose ends. Get back any keys, equipment, tools or documents that belong to your company.
- Say goodbye gracefully. It is acceptable to express disappointment, but don’t try to talk the person out of leaving.
View the exit interview as a catalyst for positive change for your business. No employer wants to lose a valuable employee, but with that loss you gain insight into your business that may keep other employees from also saying goodbye.