Employers prefer to receive feedback from current employees so they can address the situation and make changes before an employee decides to leave. However, this frequently doesn’t happen. Many employees fear retribution and therefore don’t share their concerns with management while they are still employed. They start looking elsewhere and you only realize there’s an issue when they put in their notice.
In this situation, exit interviews are your only option. But on a positive note, exit interviews can be an extremely effective way to obtain open, honest feedback.
Employers conduct exit interviews to gain information that can be used to make necessary improvements to enhance corporate image, aid retention and recruitment. Reputation means a great deal to candidates and can be extremely important for candidates when they are selecting which jobs to apply for. The valuable feedback gained from exit interviews can allow companies to make changes to enhance their brand.
The majority of agricultural organizations utilize exit interviews according to the most recent 2015-2016 Agribusiness HR Review; more than 80% of U.S. and Canadian agribusinesses surveyed said they conduct exit interviews.
CONDUCTING THE EXIT INTERVIEW
Exit interviews are given to employees that have given their notice but have not yet left the organization. To obtain the most candid responses from employees that are leaving, someone other than their immediate supervisor should conduct the interview. This person might be in human resources, or a manager from a different department or location.
They are called ‘interviews’ because they are most likely conducted verbally in-person; however they can also be conducted via written or online surveys. Some companies do both an in-person interview and a written questionnaire. This is especially useful if there are some questions you feel employees might be hesitant to answer face-to-face, but would be more comfortable replying to in a written situation (e.g., questions relating to their boss or supervisor).
Many templates and question suggestions for exit interviews can be found online, or you can also contact AgCareers.com for more information.
SAMPLE EXIT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Always end the interview with an open-ended question to allow the employee to comment on anything else that is on their mind, such as “Is there anything else you would like to share with us?” Thank the employee for their time and service to the company. Let them know how their feedback will be used- hopefully to evaluate employee satisfaction and make necessary changes to improve the organization. If the employee feels their concerns were heard, they may be more likely to spread positive word-of-mouth regarding the company.
Keep in mind that exit interviews should be given to all employees that are leaving on their own accord. Even if you assume an employee’s departure has nothing to do with the company (e.g., their spouse accepted a position in another part of the country), they still will have valuable feedback on the position and organization.
Some of the most honest and priceless feedback comes from employees that are leaving the organization. Although it is typically too late to save that employee, they can provide helpful information for you to consider improving the work environment for others. Exit interviews can gather valuable insight into what employees were dissatisfied about during their tenure at your organization, and they are usually willing to be more forthcoming with information.
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