By Perminus Wainaina
Employees leave an organization for various reasons. Some of these reasons are valid; such as to advance in their career, for better pay, or to continue with their studies.
However, other reasons may negatively affect the organization and the staff if they are not dealt with. Dealing with these negative reasons will help better the organization and the workforce.
“How can I get feedback on why an employee chose to leave?” That is what Mercy has been questioning. Mercy is a manager at a marketing and advertising firm, and in the last three months, four employees from her department have left the organization.
Most recently, James, a top-performing employee left the organization. According to Mercy, James was not only a top-performing employee, but he also had leadership potential, and the management was considering promoting him to a supervisory role.
Tired of losing top employees, Mercy sought to understand what was causing the employees to leave, and what she can do to retain her talented staff.
Exit interviews are interviews held when an employee opts to leave the organization. These interviews are geared towards gathering feedback on the employee’s working experience, and the reasons why they chose to terminate the employment contract.
From the feedback gathered, you can then work on improving the organization in various ways.
What are some of the key benefits of gathering feedback from an exiting employee?
1. The feedback helps you improve staff retention
When an employee leaves, you spend both time and resources in getting someone else to fill the spot and to train them on the different duties and roles.
If you have high employee turnover, your expenses on recruiting, onboarding, and training will be considerably high.
However, you can lower the turnover by understanding why an employee left. From the feedback gathered during the exit interview, you can tackle the issues that caused the employees to leave.
For example, if an employee left because they were not growing in their career, you can remedy this by creating growth opportunities for the staff. Some of these opportunities include facilitating them to attend seminars relevant to their professions as well as organizing for trainings to upgrade their skills.
2. They help develop a rich company culture
Toxicity in the workplace is one of the common reasons why employees choose to leave a company.
From the feedback gathered during the interview, you can tell if the working environment is toxic. Additionally, you can narrow in on the factors contributing to the toxicity.
This information will then guide you on the measures to take to achieve a conducive environment where the employees can thrive.
3. They help you improve employee productivity
In most cases, you’ll find the issues affecting one employee are shared across the department or organization.
From the response gathered, you can discern the issues affecting the employees.
For example, if an employee is leaving because they feel there is no support for the management there’s a high likelihood other employees are feeling the same.
To fix this, you can encourage the managers and supervisors to be more involved in the employee’s work. This will not only help the employees feel valued and part of the company, it will also boost employee productivity due to the synergy at teamwork.
How do you conduct an exit interview?
The objective of an exit interview is to gather views on the state of your organization from the employee’s perspective. However, remember the employee is not obligated to share any information and could decide not to have the exit interview.
To conduct a successful exit interview, get creative ways to make the employee comfortable and free enough to share their true experience. For example, instead of having a structured interview, you can opt for something casual and free. You can, for instance, conduct the interview over a cup of tea outside the office. Additionally, factors such as confidentiality and agreeing to follow up on the matters may help the outgoing employee open up on the various issues.
After the exit interview, thank the employee for their feedback. You can also ask them to be in touch in they have more to share.
With the information gathered from an exit interview, you’re able to better the organization.
Do you have a vacancy in your organization? We can help you get qualified and suitable candidates who will add value to your organization.
Perminus Wainaina is an experienced HR Practioner with over 15 years experience in executive recruitment and selection, training, performance management, and Kenyan labour laws.
He has consulted for firms such as Safaricom Sacco, Oxfam, Un Women, Pacis Insurance, Windsor Golf, Muthaiga Country Club, etc. Currently, he represents the private sector at KEBS in the HR standardization committee.