When someone resigns from your company, whatever the reason, this can be a nightmare for employers… advertising, shortlisting, interviewing, and training a new person… even with the best processes and procedures it can take months before you have a new person up to the same speed that the leaver was
However, turnover is not a bad thing. We need fresh eyes to keep our businesses thriving, and it is often a compliment to the training and support we have given that (ex) employee that they are moving on to bigger and better things. But if you have too high a staff turnover, this is a negative indicator for business health, so it is important to understand if there are things you need to change.
But why did they leave?
In small businesses, we usually know our team well enough to know at least the basics of why they left…better career prospects, more money, lifestyle changes etc. However, the more important question is often why did they start looking for another job?
Reviewing job ads, submitting applications, doing interviews, negotiating a new pay package etc is also hard work for the employee who has decided to move on, and they need to do much of that “work” before they discover whether the prospective new employer will actually offer more money, better career prospects etc.
So, a better question to ask is “why did they start looking?”
Learn from them so that you can develop your business
Exit interviews can be a great forum to find out more in-depth reasons about what a person truly felt about what your business is doing well and doing not so well. Often people won’t say what they truly think about the good bad and ugly whilst they are in employment because they are nervous about how that feedback may be received. But, an exit interview, done well, is a good forum for them to air their feedback in an open and honest way.
Listen with a learning mind
The keys to good exit interviews are to:
- Listen to what they have to say. You may not agree with all of it, and you may not be able to change things to address the concerns but Listen.
- Factually and critically review what has been said. They may lay criticism about you, your company, or other team members, and it is easy to brush that under the carpet. However, if you extract the facts, there can often be great learnings
- Listen for patterns, particularly if the same comments are coming from multiple sources
- Implement changes – all feedback is an opportunity to learn and develop your business, so take it on board, and implement the necessary changes. Not only for the good of your business but also because this will be seen by the remaining employees who will, in turn, feel that you are listening to their opinions.
Conducting Exit Interviews
- Independent Interviewer – In an ideal world to have a truly honest exit interview this should be conducted by someone independent. But this is not always possible so aim to have the exit interview conducted by someone who is as neutral as possible.
- Communicate the reason for the meeting/agenda in advance e.g.:
- We want to learn in order to make ACME Inc and even better place to work, so, with that in mind what do you think we do really well, and/or what could we do better?
- What prompted you to start looking for another role?
- What might have changed that you would have decided to stay?
- What are the 2 or 3 best things working at ACME Inc, and conversely the worst 2 or 3 things?
- Give time, space and focus to the exit interview. I.e. don’t let the interview be derailed by continual interruptions
To find out more about exit interviews, register for this months Webinar at 10am on Friday 28th October
The November webinar is on Managing the Festive season on Friday 25th November at 10am and I will be publishing the 2023 programme shortly. If you have any particular topics you would like to hear then please let me know as I am sure I can include those.
In the meantime, if you have any questions on any HR topics, feel free to give me a call on 021 741 544. My philosophy is that the only daft question is the one you don’t ask, and often issues can be nipped in the bud quickly if dealt with early.
Founder of HRtoolkit
021 741 544