Exit interviews are, unfortunately, inevitable. Regardless of how great your company culture is, or how engaging a role is, people will still choose to leave. Similarly, there will come a time when you’ll have to let people go if they aren’t performing or adding value. So, instead of feeling shame around this topic, we wanted to talk about it openly and honestly.
We are entering a transitionary period globally, and this is giving employers and employees the confidence to leave, or look at their overall recruitment and retention strategy in more depth.
There is a huge emphasis industry-wide on creating inclusive cultures, which is, of course, crucial. However, there is a lack of discourse around exit interviews, which are one of the most effective ways to boost your retention and get a more profound understanding of your company.
Our experience shows us, that if done properly, an exit interview confirming the loss of a staff member can actually help you to attract and retain new talent. Whether you’re a team of 20 people or a team of 200, exit interviews should be a part of your retention strategy.
An article published by Harvard Business Review is one of many that breaks down the effectiveness of exit interviews, as well as the various ways in which they can be conducted, both at junior level through to board level.
The article highlights that an exit interview is more than just understanding someone’s personal reasons for leaving. In fact, it can uncover information relating to HR, leadership styles, benchmarking (salary and benefits) as well as indicating whether the leaver will speak of you fondly behind closed doors.
It sounds bizarre to think that a leaver can help you to recruit and retain in the future, and if you can prevent that person from leaving – then you absolutely should.
However, if that individual is set on leaving, and the situation is handled with professionalism and empathy, then that person can be an advocate for new joiners, whilst also speaking highly about your business.
Regardless of someone’s length of service, listening to and implementing feedback is crucial. At Apsida, we are believers that employees will always see things that you won’t. They will also experience things that you won’t – whether this is due to seniority or having less of a personal investment in the business.
You should cover everything from the onboarding process, through to training, through to their day-to-day environment and how it made them feel. If cracks are found in any parts of this, then you can prevent that feeling being replicated with future hires.
From our experiences, our exit interviews have shown us not just operational things that we need to adapt and change, but it’s also prompted us to ask questions around culture as this can adapt and change over time, suiting some more than others.
If someone leaving your business is due to a personal choice out of their control, such as relocation or wanting a career change, you may not be able to get many tangible takeaways from this. However, if comments are made around culture or specific triggers which made them leave, these are all valuable pieces of information that should be listened to.
Whether you run through a specific set of questions, or you have an open conversation and make notes, ensure that you are keeping a record of all exit interviews to look for a pattern.
This will allow you to understand how to mitigate against losing people in the future, or, showing you areas in your initial screening process that require improvement.
If everybody is leaving your organisation because you haven’t been clear as an employer on expectations, or, for example, culture – unfortunately that’s something you have missed and need to change immediately.
Equally, if you feel as though people are leaving (or being let go) because of one common reason, for example competency or training and development, then this unfortunately falls on the employer once again.
If you are using a recruiter to assist you with your hiring strategy, we always recommend sharing exit interview feedback, so everybody is aligned, and the right questions can be asked in the future.
What one person says about your business or your leadership can sometimes have irreparable ramifications when hiring in the future, so, make sure that you are giving each employee (current or past) a platform to talk about why they are leaving.
If you have any questions about exit interviews, please contact one of the team at Apsida today, we would be happy to have a conversation with you to talk you through how this can add value to your overall recruitment strategy.