As an employer, your goal is to retain top talent as long as possible. However, some turnover is expected, and some employees will eventually leave to pursue other endeavors. By performing an exit interview with an employee before they go, you’ll have an opportunity to get honest feedback about positive and negative experiences, identify potential areas of opportunity for increasing employee retention and get valuable insight to help hire their replacement.
The best way to make sure these conversations are meaningful and productive is to use an exit interview form or exit interview template. This document will provide guidance and structure to the meeting and ensure you don’t miss any critical information.
Why do I need an exit interview form?
An exit interview form achieves three primary objectives:
1. Ensures you cover the most important topics
An exiting employee may have many thoughts and feelings to share during the interview and, without a guide to follow, it can be easy for side tangents to derail the conversation. Following an exit interview template helps ensure the discussion is constructive for the organization and beneficial for the exiting employee, too.
2. Documents employer strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity.
Even if you’re listening intently, it’s easy to miss or forget important remarks if you’re not keeping a careful record. An exit interview form gives you a place to make notes and capture critical feedback you may want to share with leadership.
3. Creates a plan for future improvements.
When an employee is leaving the company, they may feel more comfortable giving honest feedback, criticism and suggestions because there’s no chance of the information affecting their job standing. The answers provided in the exit interview form can act as a roadmap for decreasing turnover and increasing workplace satisfaction.
Who should fill out the exit interview form?
Employers usually handle exit interviews in two different ways. In some cases, the HR manager asks the questions and records the employee’s answers during the meeting. In other cases, the employee will complete the form before the interview, and then discuss their responses with the HR manager during the meeting.
No matter which method you choose, it’s crucial this exercise stays within the HR department. If an employee is interviewed by their direct supervisor or a member of the leadership team, the may feel less comfortable sharing criticism of their department, their role or the organization as a whole.
What should I include in an exit interview form?
Here are a few areas you’ll want to cover:
- Feedback about the relationship with the direct manager.
During the exit interview, you’ll want to include questions that address the employee-manager relationship. Responses to these questions will help you determine whether the manager provided the employee the feedback, guidance and training they needed to excel in their role.
- Triggers that made the employee want to leave.
One of the most critical pieces of information you can glean from an exit interview is why the employee decided to leave the organization. This will help you uncover whether or not the company is providing its workforce enough opportunity to grow in their careers, if there are weak points in the culture or if there are personnel concerns you need to address.
- Missing perks, benefits and opportunities.
Sometimes employees accept an offer with another company because of perks or opportunities that align better with their lifestyle. For example, an employee who wants to spend more time with their family may decide to leave your organization to work for a company that offers more flexible hours and work-from-home opportunities. Answers to these questions could expose opportunities for improvements to benefits packages and workplace policies.
- Guidance for creating a more accurate job description.
If an employee is leaving because they’re no longer satisfied with their role or they feel the position is no longer a good fit, this is an excellent opportunity to make adjustments to the job description. The exiting employee’s feedback can help make sure future job postings accurately reflect the role and appeal to professionals who will be a better fit.
- Overall satisfaction with the company.
How does the employee feel about the organization as they leave? Would they refer a friend? Would they consider coming back to the company in the future? These questions can help you identify whether or not the company is providing an enjoyable workplace and highlight opportunities to improve further.
When conducted properly, exit interviews help employers uncover a great deal of honest feedback from an experienced, inside source. By using an exit interview form, you can compile the most important questions, organize answers, make sure you’re effectively addressing everything the employee wants to share, and prepare a useful roadmap to improve your workplace.
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