Exit interview provides clues for the real reason

You are leaving the company for reasons of your own. You have put in your papers and while you are serving your notice period you are summoned for an exit interview. You wonder what the employer is looking for, from an employee who has submitted his resignation and will be leaving the company shortly.

Today, the exit interview has become a norm in most organizations, and HR departments give a lot of importance to them.

So what does the exit interview entail? Apart from enquiring about administrative details like contact address, phone numbers for future communications etc, the interview is also about the real reasons for the exit of the employee. So, the exit interview is more important for the employer than the employee.

Conducting the interview face to face is the best option as it provides a better understanding and interpretation. It also gives the HR person conducting the interview, an opportunity to get first hand information and deal with sensitivity to neutralize negative feelings. However, some organizations prefer to get the feedback in the form a written questionnaire.

The exit interview provides clues for the real reason behind the resignation of an employee. The employee who is quitting is not under any threat and can provide insight into the working of the management. It is important to understand why an employee is leaving. In fact it is almost as important as understanding why your employee sticks to your company. When an exit interview was conduct recently, the HR of a Company were stunned to find out that the employee was actually unhappy with his seniors as they were not allocating important work to him. This, according to him, was hampering his growth prospects. When they checked subtly, they found that he may be right and there was an existent bias, as there were mixed reactions from other employees in the said department. This prompted the management to take corrective measures.

Many persons quit when the opportunity to grow and develop is denied to them resulting in stagnation and monotony. Others quit when they are overworked and have very little time for personal life. Yet others have a grouse with the boss. Whatever the reason, the exit interview provides an insight into the company’s, management culture, and allows the management to make changes.

The person may be quitting on his own or he may be discharged. But the manner in which the exit interview is conducted should be the same. Treat the leaving candidate humanly, give credence to his feelings, and see that he is given due respect as a professional. After all, if he is quitting there should be some valid reason like low salary or denuded job satisfaction. It could even be that he has been deprived of some portfolio or someone had superseded him. However, if it is a discharge the HR department should handle the exit interview with utmost tact. The person may be feeling low and vengeful. It becomes the responsibility of HR to see that he leaves without a sour taste. The person who conducts the interview should speak plain facts and apprise the employee of why the painful decision was made.

Another very important factor is the transfer of knowledge from the existing employee to the person who is going to take his post. Most people are willing to help if they are leaving on their own. But the onus is on the employer to make a professional request. If sufficient leeway is provided, the knowledge transfer can be an enjoyable learning experience for the incoming successor.

In the case of a person who has been discharged of his duties, getting the administrative details regarding his contact becomes very important, as you may have to retrieve company assets in his possession, like laptops, mobiles or credit cards. Further, it gives the company a chance to soften the disappointment and misgivings that the discharged employee may have.

Thus exit interviews, if properly organized can have a positive effect on the employee as well as the employer.