Exit Interviews Still a Necessary Part of the Process

Cindi Kiner, president of the Greenfield-based The HR Connection, LLC, recently penned a column for BizVoice magazine on the importance of exit interviews. Heeding this advice could be quite beneficial for your business:

Employers often assume that they know the reason an employee is leaving the company. They may assume an employee is leaving for a better opportunity, when the real reason is that the employee never felt like part of the team. Employers generally think employees leave because of salary or benefits, but more often the reasons involve interpersonal relationships. The answers provided about an employee’s experience with the company can be very surprising and revealing, and can provide an excellent opportunity for an organization to make needed changes.

Exit interviews serve a dual purpose. The more obvious purpose is to learn where the company can improve its working conditions and performance. Departing employees can often provide a unique perspective on this since they don’t have to fear immediate repercussions. It is very important to assure an employee that the information he provides will be confidential (within limits) and will not affect his paycheck, references or his eligibility for COBRA or unemployment. The less obvious purpose of an exit interview is to protect the company from costly litigation in the future by a disgruntled employee. Any remarks that indicate discrimination, illegal activity or harassment must be documented and investigated, and proper action must be taken immediately.

Also, if you’re looking for further advice on exit interviews or any other part of the interviewing process, the Chamber’s second edition of The Interviewing Guide (authored by attorneys from Ogletree Deakins) was just released in downloadable PDF form.