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Exit interviews are an opportunity to engage employees one last time.

To perform the perfect exit interview, you’ll need to include certain criteria in your exit interviews to create goodwill with departing employees and reduce future turnover problems.


Exit interviews have become standard practice when an employee leaves an organisation. Resources on exit interviews focus on questions to ask, but questions won’t give you the information you want unless you know what to ask about.


Departing employees are more open to discuss their experience, both positive and negative. Apply their feedback to your current employees to improve their working experience.


Here are some areas you should target to when conducting exit interviews:


First of all, ask them their reason for leaving and if anything can be done to change their mind.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/494378799/in/photolist-KFPAp-54cxcz-8rbWyD-LU8pa-awwnsW-8hGav9-dYe6xD-ddkeF1-scYofL-goFUjo-jdwjLM-5yNnA5-jLZvze-idYGAo-4uyN46-gm7Y3x-a6obk4-hNeWpq-8chSH5-36R456-4FVGXF-f1Ufqf-aS58yk-a6r3KA-tL6os-33rom-o6zhX1-5KUGu3-akbBfg-5FdmxZ-c1E9C-JHpEE-g4iR4T-bGFWNB-attEPX-t7Ax1E-cNtB6J-8jjR2Y-5XPHs1-8ANCSw-npWcMY-7N9kj8-6vnwTs-618mGX-7hXt6-6ixExP-a1LQNr-5DwTp4-vLKdg-dYjyK5

Image credit: James Emery, Flickr


Uncover the employee’s reason for leaving. Was it a single event? Is it an issue that has built up over time? Ask them if they know anyone else in the organisation feeling the same way.


Your first assumption will be the leaving employee hates their job, or the organisation or their manager. This is not always the case.


There can be reasons outside of work that employees leave organisations. An employee may want to work closer to home or have a change in personal circumstances.


It is impossible to predict situations like this. Even though you can’t move work closer to an employee’s home, you can offer more flexible work arrangements.


Find the reason for an employee leaving, and see if you can do something to change their mind. If the employee still leaves, you can use the information from exit interviews to improve current staff conditions.


Ask about their job satisfaction, whether anything could be changed to keep them on board.

Your leaving employee could be bored at work. This is an easy problem to fix – hand them more challenging work.


Other times an employee can feel limited by their workplace. They need to move on to grow their career. Outgrowing an organisation can happen to a top performing employee.


Use exit interviews to stay on good terms with a leaving employee. Engaging leaving employees creates a network of contacts for use in future. Leaving employees could work for an organisation in a similar industry, or for a larger organisation you work with.


These employees could always come back to work for you in a greater capacity. Give former employees the opportunity to grow and they may return to your organisation with more skills to offer.


Retrieve as much knowledge about the leaving employee’s position as you can.

Departing employees take more than the contents of their desk with them. You can lose years of experience when an employee moves on. Use exit interviews as an opportunity to gain whatever knowledge you can.


You need to fill the leaving employee’s position. Make it easier by giving their replacement as much knowledge as possible.


The time between your current employee leaving and your new employee filling their position could overlap. Get your leaving employee to do as much handover as possible. Conducting handover makes the transition for the replacement employee easier. Exit interviews let your departing employee realise how valuable their contribution was.


Exit interviews can be an opportunity to create resources on how to perform certain job functions. Resources from these exit interviews make the transition for new employees easier, as well as benefitting current employees.


Follow procedure to give your leaving employee a positive offboarding experience.

Exit interviews are also an opportunity to make sure you have done your part with a departing employee. Have they handed in all their equipment? Is there anything else you need from them?


You don’t want to have to ring them a couple of weeks later because you realise they haven’t handed in a company phone.


A service like HROnboard can automate the checklist for offboarding employees. Make sure you follow company regulation in a legally compliant way.


Using a service such as HROnboard means you have more time to focus on exit interviews. You can engage leaving employees and use their input to improve conditions for your current employees.

Exit interviews are goodbye, not farewell, to leaving employees.

Just because an employee is leaving doesn’t mean you will never see them again. A positive experience at your organisation means they are actually more likely to return in following years.


Exit interviews and offboarding allow you to look after former employees, and current employees. Download this business case for employee offboarding to see how exit interviews can benefit your organisation.

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