Breakups are tough. This is as true in the workplace as it is in personal life. But employers need to take advantage of these challenging moments to ask departing employees why they’re leaving and try to learn from their responses. By conducting interviews before your employees walk out the door, you can gain valuable insight into the ways that your company might be falling short, and what other companies are doing to poach your talent.
You can find plenty of lists of reasons employees quit (like this, this, or this), but you won’t know which reasons apply to your business unless you ask. Then, use the information to improve the environment for the employees who remain. Be sure to ask departing employees these exit interview questions:
- Why are you leaving? Departing employees are dissatisfied about something: the salary, the nature of the work, how they were treated by their manager, or something else. Don’t be satisfied with an answer like, “I want more challenge.” Ask follow-up questions to understand exactly what they mean. The more specific information you get, the better you can address those issues.
- What did you like about your job here? Hopefully, there was something employees liked about their jobs. Learning the positives is as important as learning the negatives so you know what you shouldn’t change about the work environment. If your company is considering changing some policies, ask departing employees their opinions of the proposed changes before you implement them.
- Did you have the resources you needed to do your job? Employees can’t work effectively without the right tools, but budget-conscious departments sometimes scrimp on spending. Companies need to invest in the resources employees need to get the job done. These resources can include training as well as software, office supplies, and support staff. When employees don’t feel they have the needed resources, they don’t feel the company is committed to their success.
Don’t try to use an exit interview to change employees’ minds about leaving. It’s usually too late, and even if you somehow persuade them to give you a second chance, the problems that they experienced before might persist. Instead, use the conversation to help improve the way you treat the rest of your staff. If you really listen to the feedback, asking exit interview questions should become a less common event.