Have exit interviews done by a third party (HR or
other) and not with the supervisor in attendance. The goal is to get honest
communication. The plusses AND the minuses. With the
Supervisor in attendance, chances are slim that the exiting
employee will speak up on any important issues.
Conduct exit interviews for areas/departments where you "smell"
trouble. If there happens to be a lot of turnover in one area,
that's a red-flag to start exit interviewing ALL departing employees from
that area. (You may want to even interview non-departing employees as
Have questions pre-planned. You should have a standard list of
questions that you ask on each exit interview. Find out what they
liked best and least, how they would rate their supervisor, the
compensation, benefits, etc. Give them the opportunity to offer
suggestions for improvement.
Take information received seriously, but with a grain of salt.
Don't allow one negative employee to disrupt your whole
organization. Look for patterns in exit interview responses. Share
the information tactfully with Supervisors. Make action plans to
verify serious issues. Work on improving the negatives.
Don't let the ex-employee go on and on and on. The exit
interview should take 15-20 minutes. You don't get any more info
by hearing the employee whine about every last detail. Just like an
employment interview, learn how to get the information that you
need, and send them on their way.
Thank them for their service. One small step that you can make
on behalf of your company is to thank them for what they have
done during their employment. Many employees are never thanked.
It means a lot.