5 Tips to Improve Your Exit Interviews

April 7, 2016 | 1,619 views

5 Tips to Improve Your Exit Interviews

5 Tips to Improve Your Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are one of the most challenging parts of a manager’s job. As difficult as it might be to admit, something went wrong along the way and now you’re down one team member. This doesn’t have to be a negative experience though. Here are five ways you can improve your exit interviews to get more insight into how you can improve your workplace and keep your team happy.


1. Keep an Open Door Policy


It’s natural for there to be some level of bitterness when it comes to a person leaving. The person who quit might have done so out of frustration over a policy or procedure. You, as the employer, might be disappointed by losing the team member, adding extra emotion to an already difficult transition.


It’s important to remember during the exit interview that you never want to close any doors. The person might realize how good he had it working with your company and want to come back someday. If he does, and you’re in need of his talent, you want to make the re-boarding process as smooth as possible.


2. Listen While Your Former Employee Vents


Sometimes, employees vent with unproductive feedback. Other times, there’s hidden lessons in their feedback.


Although it might be difficult to hear negative remarks about your management style or company policies, be sure to listen closely. Try to do so with an open mind and heart. Many times, what the exiting employee is feeling is also being felt by others in your office.


If you’re losing a lot of employees, it might be time to make changes to your HR policies. Understanding his frustrations can help you stop the bleeding of talented employees and improve your workplace morale.


3. Take Personal Goals Into Consideration


Sometimes, the job itself wasn’t the problem – it was the personal goals held by the employee. Take these into consideration as you listen to why your employee is leaving. Perhaps there was nothing you could’ve done differently, and that’s okay too.


4. Try to Steer the Conversation Back to the Positive


Once your employee has had a chance to vent his frustrations, steer the conversation back to the positive. Rarely is a person’s experience all bad. When you can both walk away from the conversation on a positive note, it helps you maintain a stronger relationship going forward. This way, you minimize the risks of him bad mouthing your company to others who might be interested in applying.


5. Avoid Playing Defense


An exit interview isn’t the time to play defense. It’s unlikely that anything you say in an exit interview will make your employee change his mind about working with you. Putting up your guard and trying to justify every accusation will only serve to fuel any negative fires still smoldering.




The goal of your exit interviews should always be to keep the conversation civil, positive and constructive. If you keep this in mind, you’ll learn more about opportunities to improve your processes and ways to keep your current team members happy.



Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014 

This entry was posted in Small Business Tips and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.