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Putting the ‘good’ back into goodbye. Why an exit interview is good for Culture.

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Is that even the best term for it? I prefer a goodbye, see you again interview; after all even if you wouldn't necessarily rehire, you would still want them as a promoter? Offboarding is another term, but really, is that what we are trying to do “off” the person? Give it a title that feels a bit more human, we are dealing with people, and we’ve always said, they are the heart of your business.

One objective of exit interviews is to get a handle on what’s happening inside the business, and where best to place your energy when it comes to improving the experience people have with you.

Asking a lot of questions about targets, expectations, job design, development and promotion are great, but if you can’t do anything with the responses, then maybe it’s best to move on to the next?

So what should you ask? Questions that provide insight into improvements that impact business performance such as culture, leadership and team cohesiveness.

Another objective of exit interviews is to discover what would make them stay, and if they'd come back or be a promoter for your business.

This is all about talent pipelining. We know the fight for talent is continuing, so don’t be afraid to express your sadness at their leaving and to let them know, you’d welcome them back. After all, exiting a business should be just as engaging as entering one, don’t you agree? Think of it this way, when a customer leaves you, what would you do to get them back? So why treat the heart of your business, your people any differently?

Something else to consider is how to personalise the goodbye experience and ensure they are open and honest with their responses. So perhaps it’s a two part approach, some questions asked by their leader at the time of resignation and when leaving day arrives, have HR or an external party ask the more difficult questions about their leader and team.

Time to say goodbye should also involve letting them know their contribution made a difference, that you appreciate them.

So build it into your processes, and ensure it’s sincere.

What else should you consider? Do you mandate it or is it optional, we can’t give you the answer, so put it to your leadership team to decide. Should you ask questions that exaggerate the bad and the ugly of the role (every company has them), is that the final impression you want them to walk away with? What about tenure, does that impact the questions, how they are asked and by who? Who see’s the responses, should they be filtered, and how will they be used to improve team and company culture, and how do you communicate this to everyone?

Getting the goodbye right, can provide valuable information about your culture, leadership and teams that then becomes a source of continuous improvement for the business.

So here's one you may want to consider using.

PeopleQ Employee exit form
Download PDF • 115KB



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