Why Bother with Staff Exit Interviews?

It has been estimated that losing an employee can cost the business between 50% to 300% of the employee’s annual salary.  Typically money is wasted through unwanted employee turnover, high absenteeism, poor productivity, as well as new hire and training costs.

It therefore makes perfect business sense that if there is a problem in your business that has contributed to a team member leaving and it has the potential to cause other team members to leave that you fix it and fix it smartly.

Some of the most honest and valuable information about your business problems can be obtained from departing team members. Yet too many businesses do not bother with exit interviews.

Managers excuses include: “Why bother – they’re going”, “I didn’t have the time”,” I already know what they would say”, “They don’t give honest answers anyway”.  These views are stopping your business from improving your work conditions, affecting your retention of staff and stopping you identifying key problems.

Departing employees are often less concerned about ‘treading on peoples toes’ hence are more likely to provide more honest feedback.

The key questions that need to be asked include:

  1. Reasons they joined/liked working there – This would include questions on what they liked about their job including: salary, type of work, the environment, interaction with others etc
  2. Reasons they are leavingLook at the question above plus ask about relationship with management and what they liked
  3. Suggestions for changes – ask about challenges the new person will face, suggestions they may have to help the new person’s transition into the role, how communication could be improved and reward systems (do they work or not).
  4. Verifying the understanding between employer and employee – this is your chance to discuss any confidentiality agreement, final pay, entitlements, return of company property including keys etc
  5. Open-Ended Opportunity – Allow the employee to express any thoughts/grievances in their own words. It is best that you part on good terms as the last thing your business needs is an emotionally charged competitor down the track.

 If you feel the interview process would be smoother done by an external party there are a number of external providers that can provide this service either face to face with the departing team member or via an online questionnaire.

Richard Kemp – Watts Price Accountants
E: richardk@wattsprice.com.au

The advice provided on this Article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.