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Getting the Most Out of Exit Interviews

How do you find out what is causing the high attrition levels within your company? It is not ok to shrug off attrition problems as an industry trend. You can work out solutions if you were to closely examine the causes of low productivity and high resignation.

When employees choose to part ways with the organization, there has to be a very strong reason to do so. Exit interviews can bring forth all that goes wrong within the organization. There have been cases, where companies discovered malpractices and pressure tactics employed at certain layers by conducting exit interviews.

However, some HR professionals argue that exit interviews may not be a worthwhile option. The reasons they state are:
  • employees fear that the information given out in exit interviews could be used against them
  • employees fake their reasons for exit and the entire information could be contrived
  • it is a waste of organization's time as not much can be done after the employee has quit
  • each employee is different and hence his complaints cannot be generalized for the entire staff
Survey reports about exit interviews have shown that exiting employees give their honest opinions during the exit interview. Usually when the problem stated by the employee recurs many times, you would realize that there is indeed a deep rooted problem which needs attention.

However, in conducting exit interviews, HR personnel must take care to record the details without bias. Sometimes, interviewers use their own prejudice to judge the nature of the complainant and record the interview accordingly. Such prejudiced recording does not give a fair picture of the problem. Hence it is necessary to have a pre designed format of the exit interview. Stick to the questions in the format to avoid unnecessary deviation from the topic.

Exit interviews can also salvage the organization's reputation if there are legalities involved. An exit interview is seen as a final handshake, where both parties maturely accept the decision to quit ways. Organizations can steer away from legal actions if the employee has been given a 'hearing' for her case.

Exit interviews are like thermometer that measures the organization's wellbeing. If there are intrinsic problems that top managers are unaware of, exit interviews bring them to the fore. An organization should learn to listen to others' grievances and do the best to offer relief to their employees.

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