Many companies, big and small, conduct some type of interview with exiting employees. That’s a good thing. Exit interviews are more then just a reason to find out why someone is leaving. They are an effective strategic management tool that can provide you with information regarding why good people would want to stay with your organization.
Today’s labor market has relatively low unemployment and a new generation of workers who do not intend to work for the same company the span of their professional lives. The stats echo these sentiments. A poll by Monster Intelligence found that 40% of companies report that turnover has increased 40% in the past 18 months. Additionally, the voluntary unemployment rate (the “quit” rate) has risen 2% to its highest level since 2001. For businesses, high turnover is not just about the increase in costs associated with hiring and training new employees, but the ultimate impact it can have on ROI.
Departing employees can provide a company with a database of useful insights that can improve their business. True, you may need to pick through comments voiced by a disgruntled employee or someone displeased with their manager to find the root of an issue, but it is there, and can be well-worth your time to discover and dissect it.
Les McKeown, author of Retaining Top Employees says the key to getting useful information is to treat the departing employee as a trusted adviser rather than a traitor and to keep the exit interview relaxed and conversational.
Many small business owners are heisitant to conduct exit interviews because they may be sensitive to the negativity the employee may express toward their business. However, if you truly want to grow your business and keep your employees, you need to remain objective. In most cases, even dissatistifed employees who are leaving still have a feeling of connection with their co-workers and genuinely want to see the company improve and succeed–even if it is just for their colleagues sake.