Importance of Exit Interviews


This blog has been written by one of our counsellors [Sheetal] at AceNgage. During our lunch hour conversations she suggested that we write a post on why Organisations should conduct exit interviews (or outsource it to an expert) which is when I decided that she is best equipped to do it since she personally has done over a few thousand exit interviews so far.

“I have already put down my papers, why are you calling me now?”, “How is my feedback going to help now?”, “What will the company do with my feedback”? “Will they really implement whatever I say? Is this of any use?” These are some of the common questions more than 50% of the employees ask when I call them to conduct their exit interview. Most employees also ask, “I have left the company 3 months back, why am I getting a call this late?” People need to realize that an exit interview can happen anytime from one month to a year after the employee has put down his papers. The objective is to capture feedback from the exiting employee.

In my perspective, the bond between the employer and employee does not and should not end the minute the employee puts down his papers. The organization needs to listen to all their employees, regardless of their designation or tenure when they are leaving the company. This will enable them to take necessary actions where needed. There was an instance where the employee said, “

I left the company because my manager is a jerk. He does not know how to talk to us on the floor. He calls me an idiot and duffer in front of everyone when we make a small mistake. This is very degrading. In a span of 2 months, five employees have left the company because of him. He does not know how to talk properly. I wish he knew how we felt”.

In such a case, the organization should give an immediate feedback to the concerned manager and ensure such behaviour is not repeated. This is one factor, which the organization can control in order to retain employees, there are other instances where the organization cannot do much. Another employee said, “I left the company because I was unhappy with the hike that was given to me. I got 8% hike, however I was expecting 25% hike in 2013.”

At this point we feel the employee is totally realistic in having such expectations from the company. We would also feel that it is impractical or impossible to give 25% hike to all the employees in the company. Nevertheless, the company can adopt other alternative measures to retain the employee. The company can ask the concerned HR to talk to the employee and find out the reason why employee is expecting 25% hike. The HR also needs to figure out when the dissatisfaction steamed out and what best can be done in order to stop the employee from leaving the company. The company can surely offer other alternatives instead of letting go of the employee altogether. For instance, the company can provide the employee with a short term onsite assignment, this will give the employee a chance to explore a new environment and learn something different.

An exit interview will also give the employer the opportunity to sort out issues with those leaving the company on bad terms. It gives the employee an opportunity to get whatever issues they have out in the open, where they can be discussed, and hopefully resolved.

To sum up, conducting exit interviews can provide fruitful insights to the organization. They get information regarding the work culture, project environment, processes, issues with the management, salary related concerns and so on. If the organization takes note of the concerns and takes some corrective actions, they will definitely see results over a period. The message definitely is that the organisation cares for you!!