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Conduct an exit interview or remain in the dark

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HC Online | 10 Jan 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
The New Year is well and truly here, and it’s a fact that some of your employees may be seeking greener pastures – before they do, are your exit interview procedures up-to-scratch?
  • HR Observer | 10 Jan 2013, 04:26 PM Agree 0
    On the flipside of those departing employees unconcerned with treading on toes, there are those who leave an organisation still needing a good reference, and to maintain their professional integrity in an industry, and are therefore still reluctant to speak the "honest truth". In addition, other departing employees may well have fought the system for their entire tenure at the organisation and are simply to exhausted to care any more to give detailed feedback on what went wrong. Perhaps, then, HR might be better off reading between the lines and considering what's NOT said (i.e. if they didn't praise, or were lukewarm about, the culture, pay, conditions, recognition, etc. etc.) at the exit interview rather than what IS.
  • Michael Minns | 10 Jan 2013, 06:21 PM Agree 0
    Most exit interviews fall short on there counts
    A The interview is conducted by the wrong person
    B the timing is wrong
    C the wrong question is asked

    This is in addition to the flawed interview techniques outlined in the article
  • Marcel R Parker | 14 Jan 2013, 05:51 PM Agree 0
    Exit interviews are as dead as the dodo and are akin to a post-mortem on a corpse!
    Would urge HR practitioners to adopt STAY INTERVIEWS instead-Why does John stay with me?Build on these positives and all the negatives get automatically addressed over a period of time.There is a need to train operating managers and HR managers how to conduct these and manage the fall-out too.Using Gallup Q 12 Surveys also pinpoint pain areas particularly in the recognition areas
  • HC | 15 Jan 2013, 10:27 AM Agree 0
    Have to agree with Marcel - its too late to ask why are you leaving the horse has already bolted!! "Why stay?" questionnaires are a more positive approach - it shows that the employer cares, wants to know how to improve production/work place and workers can see the change opinions and work place suggestions can make. This method will engage the staff at all levels and the work place adopts a positive attitude to continual improvement and changes in a demanding climate!
  • Lenore Lambert | 15 Jan 2013, 04:01 PM Agree 0
    Both views are correct. Exit and stay interviews are both valuable but for different reasons.

    To suggest there is no value in feedback from those leaving is like studying a strain of flu and deciding not to include anyone who's infected in your research sample. Those who are actually leaving are the most accurate source of information about real turnover drivers - not why they 'might' leave, but why they 'are' leaving. Address these issues and your turnover will go down.

    However as others have said, the data collection methodology is crucial and as is often done poorly. We did a research project on the current state of exit, stay and onboarding interviews in Australia and New Zealand and found that while 92% of organisations conduct exit interviews, only 15% believe they are gaining full value from them.

    Stay interviews (and on-boarding interviews) are both excellent sources of information but they suffer from the inability to rigorously sort turnover drivers from dissatisfiers.

    Unfortunately online surveys are also a flawed way to collect exit data. They're great for many other things but with exit interviews the response rates are lower, the data on turnover drivers is inaccurate and the amount of data you can collect is inadequate. (We have a free white paper with the supporting data and tips on best practice methodology if you want to know more. Either email or go to

    Stay interviews are an incredibly valuable and proactive way to do a deep dive into individual engagement - productivity, commitment to the organisation and the extent to which they are a flight risk (to the extent that you can ascertain this from a non-departing employee). They allow you to address issues before the person becomes a turnover statistic. However if you relied on these alone you would need to 'stay interview' every employee regularly to prevent turnover (unlikely to happen) and as mentioned above, the data on turnover drivers is less accurate than in an exit interview. They are more effectively used to hone in on 'hot spots' of turnover, either high potential or high performing employees, or those who are really difficult to replace.
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