Why Exit Interviews Matter

By Kaitlin Hurtado on January 9, 2019

When an employee turns in their resignation, the last thing you may be planning to do is to give an exit interview when you are scrambling to find a replacement for them or temporarily designate their tasks to another employee or two. However, exit interviews are very important and they should be something you are seriously considering when it comes to going through the process of losing an employee. Exit interviews are to help you figure out an employee’s perspective on their experience in the workplace, such as what they liked about their job, what they would have changed.

These exit interviews will help immensely when you are trying to figure out what you can do when it comes to improving the workplace or how you can change procedures or tasks in order to make employees’ daily job better. If you are wondering if exit interviews are worth the time and effort to properly conduct them for employees leaving the company, read on to find out why exit interviews matter and why they are worth your time:

three business women

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Get an honest opinion from an employee

You may think that exit interviews would give you the same feedback that a regular employee feedback survey would get you, but there is a certain level of honesty that could be held back during an employee feedback survey. Although you may conduct an anonymous survey with your current employees,  they may still hold themselves back from giving their honest opinion on what they actually think of the workplace if they fear what can happen to their job if what they said is revealed. They will still fear that their “anonymity” isn’t that anonymous and that their feedback can get traced back to them as a current employee.

If you are conducting interviews with people that are leaving the company, they have much less to fear when it comes to leaving their honest feedback if they do not have to suffer from possible consequences. Conducting exit interviews will give you the opportunity to get honest feedback from employees – the important part being negative feedback like what can be improved on the workplace, what they didn’t like about their position, or even what pushed them to leave the company. Exit interviews are important when it comes to getting important employee feedback to use as a means to improve the workplace. Any feedback, especially negative feedback, will allow you to get a look at what issues need to be addressed in the workplace.

Work on improving employee retention 

Exit interviews are also important when it comes to getting information that can be used to improve the company’s employee retention. When you are conducting exit interviews with an employee, it is important to find out why the employee is leaving their position and the company. The reason can vary greatly depending on the employee. One employee could be seeking higher pay or a better location, something that may be out of your hands. While another employee may be leaving because of a hostile work environment or they were facing an issue at work that was left unresolved or ignored by higher management.

It is important to consider why people are leaving the company – whether or not they were truly satisfied with their experience at the company or if they are simply leaving because they found another opportunity. After multiple exit interviews, you can even find established patterns between different employees and their experiences and find out new things about the workplace. Maybe there is a specific employee or manager consistently involved with problems with employees wanting to leave, or people are consistently overwhelmed with the workload they are expected to have while filling a specific position.

Take the feedback given in the exit interview and use it to your advantage when it comes to improving employee feedback.

Exit interviews allow you to close or open the door for future opportunities

When you are conducting exit interviews, it will be easier to figure out what an employee is thinking in regards to their future interactions with the company. They may be leaving the company because it is an opportunity that is not working for them right now – the schedule is not working out, the location does not create the ideal commute for them, or because of other life circumstances. This can be a good opportunity if the employee is one you value and are looking to consider employing them in the future, you can still consider recruiting them in the future.

Exit interviews may seem like a waste of time when you are spending more effort on an employee that will no longer be working to you, but they do have their advantages when it comes to figuring out what employees genuinely think of the workplace and how you can improve it in turn.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
UC Irvine
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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