Two people meeting over coffee and shaking hands

Traditionally known as an exit interview, the process of gathering feedback from a departing employee has evolved to also include written surveys and unstructured conversations. Regardless of the format you choose, the knowledge you acquire from the process can be used to improve your business and ultimately increase employee retention. Furthermore, by tracking the data over time you can monitor your performance and identify common themes or trends.

The Format

You may opt to gather the feedback in person or through a handwritten or online survey—both formats have their merits and limitations:

  • An in-person interview gives you the chance to ask additional questions and delve deeper into the feedback. However, you may find that the employee moderates their thoughts. To prevent this, you may choose to use a third-party vendor or a more neutral interviewer (such as an HR representative or someone from an unrelated department).
  • A handwritten or online survey may liberate the employee to express themselves more freely. It is also a more efficient way to collect and compile the research. A drawback of this format is that the pre-set questions may restrict the depth of information gained.

If you are unsure which option is best for your business, look at the resources you have available and the feedback you want to obtain from the research. You could also trial each method to determine the optimal format.

What to Ask

There is a growing trend to move away from a structured interview to a conversational format. Some HR professionals argue that an open discussion allows for more constructive feedback, whereas supporters of pre-set questions promote that they ensure that all points are covered off.

If you do opt to follow a more formal approach, here are some suggested questions for you to ask:

  • What prompted you to start looking for a new job?
  • How did you find the initial recruitment process and did the job match your expectations?
  • Do you feel the on-boarding process was well executed?
  • Were you satisfied with your pay and benefits?
  • Do you feel you received the appropriate amount of supervision and direction from management?
  • Was your physical working environment comfortable?
  • Did you receive opportunities for skill development and career advancement?
  • Do you feel you were appropriately rewarded and recognized for your contribution?
  • Do you have any comments with regards to sensitive issues such as bias, harassment and discrimination?
  • Any other suggestions to improve the employee experience?

Final Note

At the end of the interview thank the departing employee for their time and comments.  And remember, if you take the time to collect the feedback, take the time to review the results and make appropriate changes within your organization.