Notwithstanding the above, the exit interview process, if well understood and implemented by the parties, is a good feedback tool to both the employer and employee. From the employer's perspective, exit interviews are a tool to identify the reasons for the departure of the employee, to manage employee performance and retention strategies and upon acceptance of constructive criticism, assist the employer to take remedial and/or preventative measures.
In reality, we know that there are bad managers out there whose misperception of duty is to make employees miserable and directly and/or indirectly push them to leave the organisation while misleading top management regarding the real issues on the ground.
Be alert, your trusted manager might be the root cause for destruction and de-motivation in the workplace. Most companies have lost good employees and retained bad managers for years because of ingenious disinformation during the feedback process.
It is precisely for these reasons and more, that the role of potentially useful feedback instruments such as the exit interview tool have been down-played and thus remained unknown or merely abandoned due to the negative perception created for the good employers. From the departing employee's perspective, exit interviews could be used as a chance to give the employer constructive feedback, to assist the employee to leave the organisation on a positive note, with a good relationship and mutual respect.
The reality is that there is a possibility of the employee returning or crossing paths with your ex-colleagues or managers in future. Therefore, both the employer and the employee should endeavour to use this opportunity to shake hands and part amicably and not as enemies.
On the other hand, the employer has a duty to him or herself, not to quickly use the old clich that no one is indispensable when an employee leaves the organisation. Immediately when an employee resigns or a decision is made for a person to leave for any other reason, place a value on the knowledge that the departing employee holds.
Have an exit interview in place to inform you of what is at stake.For the exit interviews to work to your advantage, it is ideal to conduct the interview before the employee leaves the organisation. In such a case, the employer may be able to quickly identify bad management policies; or the process may assist the company to improve all aspects of the working environment; culture, processes and systems; last but not least, the quality of the organisation if feedback indicates otherwise.
Exit interviews if properly implemented, could provide an opportunity for the organisation to identify trends within the management of the precious human resource commodity, thus assisting top management to identify and attend to the problem areas.
Most importantly, this feedback tool could provide an opportunity to make peace with disgruntled employees who might otherwise leave with vengeful intentions.Once you have decided that there is a need for an exit interview in your organisation, please ensure that HR documents a policy that would indicate their format (e.g. how they should happen, when they should be carried out and by whom, who will review the information, where will the conclusions be delivered should there be any potential action items from the review, who will oversee the process to finality).
In most instances, the responsibility to manage exit interview lies with HR, line managers or supervisors.Remember participation in exit interviews must be a voluntary act. The intention here is that the employer is given a chance to survey and analyse the opinions of the departing employee who mostly will be forthcoming, constructive and objective as opposed to current employees who will not be comfortable in biting the hand that feeds them.
For a fairly balanced exit interview, it would be prudent to engage an external consultant who should conduct a face-to-face interview with departing employees. The parties to the interview must co-sign the report. For employees who may wish to remain anonymous, you may have to prepare a questionnaire form that is user friendly. As a general rule, people dislike any voluntary exercise that requires sitting down and completing complicated long documents unless they have no choice.
If properly managed, you will be surprised of the outcome, in that it might be a chance to retain a valuable employee who would otherwise have left.In conclusion, as an employer, use the exit interview as a sign of a positive culture. Give your employees the confidence that the organisation is big enough to expose itself to criticism. Most managers and executives are overworked and overstretched, some might be at the point of leaving, the employer should consider using the exit interview as a source of comment and opportunity relating to management succession planning and feedback that identifies specific mistakes and opportunities to improve.
The exit interview could assist your managers to participate meaningfully in the proactive management of employees in the workplace. Therefore, know in advance what is bothering your staff and respond accordingly. Know your rights! The author can be reached on maine@ bbi.co.bw.