Importance of Exit Interviews

When people leave your company the feelings about this can range from “we don’t care” to “how are we going to manage?”  It is imperative to truly understand why any member of staff is leaving, because in fact a properly conducted Exit Interview can give you valuable information that will help you strengthen your business.
Just asking a candidate why they are leaving will normally elicit a polite response of “better opportunity elsewhere” or “more money”, but often the “real” underlying reason for the decision to leave will not be uncovered unless you undertake a formal exit interview in a neutral setting. Typically the candidate does not want to rock any boats as they are looking for a good reference.
When recruiting for our clients we hear the real reasons that people are looking for a new employer, such as:-
• Company did not pay sales commission due on sales.
• My manager is a bully.
• The technical team don’t respond to tenders quickly enough so I am losing sales and its affecting my ability to meet my target.
• The Health and Safety guidelines are not being followed properly and I am not comfortable with this.
• I have been asked to cover accounting mistakes my boss made and I am not happy to sign off the year end accounts.
• There is no opportunity for me to progress my career in this company.

These are just some of the reasons we hear, surprisingly when people leave it is rarely about money, often they have made friends in the business and it is hard to leave familiar surroundings and to step into the unknown to a new role.
So how does an Exit Interview help your company?
The exit interview will show trends, for example if you have 3 people who all say they are leaving because one of the Managers is a bully, perhaps you need to look at that Manager and review his/her behaviour. If good sales people keep leaving because commission is not being paid, how much is that really costing your company in lost sales revenue – because if it takes 4 months to have a new sales person in position and up and running, if the sales target is £50,000 per month, you have just lost £200,000 pounds in sales revenue.
In our recruitment agency, we see that the Exit Interview allows you to take actions that will prevent other employee’s leaving for the same reason, and potentially save you significant sums of money and / or reduce your companies exposure to future risk.

How do you carry out an Exit Interview?
1) Typically an HR Manager will carry out this interview without your line manager.
2) You let the leaving employee know that their comments will be kept in confidence.
3) Any comments will not count against them with regards to a satisfactory reference.
4) Start with what they liked about the company.
5) What they would alter to have made their role better for them.
6) Why they really want to leave.
7) Thank the candidate for taking the time to have the exit interview with you and wish them luck in their new role.

Note: This process can often give you the information you need to persuade a highly valued employee to stay in the business.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Posted in Interview Information for Management

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