Exit interviews are often the most revealing aspect of an employee’s attitude towards the organization. Yet, in many organizations, we are not likely to have an exit interview; if there is one, it is sometimes done so badly that its purpose would be diluted. How does HR manage exit interviews, and what does it get out of them?
Who should conduct the exit interview?
The first question that HR should decide is who should conduct the exit interview. Most organizations make the mistake of getting either the HR or the outgoing employee’s immediate boss to conduct the exit interview. Nothing is more meaningless than this. Any employee tends to think of HR as being pro-management. The immediate reporting manager is also not likely to be a good source for exit interviews because the employee is not going to open up before that person. It is best to select a completely neutral employee to conduct the exit interview. Such a person should have to assess and temper the outgoing employee because any employee who is going to move out of the organization will have the “devil may care” attitude and may say nonexistent things about the organization or a boss.
Another mistake many organizations do is in conducting the exit interview as soon as the employee has resigned. It is best to not only allow the person to complete the notice period; the exit interview should be done ideally a while after the formalities are over. This is because the employee is in the best frame of mind and is much cooler now and is likely to be more objective.
What do to with it?
The most important work for HR commences when the interview has been completed. It has to now decide what to do with what it got from the exiting employee. It is very important for HR to analyze this information objectively. This is the whole purpose of the exit interview, and it should be presented very well to the management without underplaying or overplaying any of the points observed in the exit interview. HR should remember that exit interviews are a great means for understanding employee perceptions about the organization. It should use these feedbacks to incorporate changes for the better. If not, there is no point in conducting the interview at all.