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Learn From Departing Employees

Exit SignIf you want the truth about your company, ask people on the way out. Exit interviews can deliver important inside information. The way departing employees view your organization might be the way things really are.

Below is an exit interview questionnaire you can print and give to staff members who are leaving. But first, a few points:

  1. Get third-party interviews. Many departing employees don't want to burn bridges or sour an ex-employer against them. One way to get them to open up is to have a third party conduct exit interviews. You can contract with a human resources consultant if your company doesn't have the resources to handle the task in-house. You can allow employees to remain anonymous, where they may feel more willing to provide detail.
  2. Dig to the heart of the matter. It isn't enough to just ask employees why they're leaving. You often have to probe, as illustrated by the questions below.
  3. Scrutinize the comments collectively. Individual exit interviews can be interesting, but when viewed together they take shape as a powerful management tool.

For example, you might discover that one department has turnover problems and decide to send that manager for additional training. Or you might find that long commutes are driving people away and decide to add telecommuting options or flexible schedules so employees can escape rush hour.

Departing employees can be important agents for change. Use the opportunity to help your company improve.

Employee Exit Questionnaire

Employee Name _____________ Department________ Date_______

1. Why are you leaving the company? Rank the reasons that apply (start with 1 as the most important).

Pay ___ Job Promotion ___ More convenient hours ___

Fellow employees ___ Personal reasons ___ Less responsibility____

More responsibility ___ Type of work___ Supervisor___

Office environment___ Commuting distance___

Other (specify) ___________________________________________

2. If you're going to work for another company, what are they offering you that we aren't?

_______________________________________________________

3. Please rate the following as Outstanding (1); Above Average (2); Average (3); or Fair (4):

Quality of our products/services _____

Competence of staff and management _____

Opportunities for advancement _____

Training _____

Compensation and fringe benefits _____

4. Was your workload a problem (too much or too little)?

_______________________________________________________

5. Did you have the support (people, equipment, technology) to be as effective as possible?

_______________________________________________________

6. What did you like best about your job?

_______________________________________________________

7. What was most frustrating?

_______________________________________________________

8. In what areas could you have benefited from training?

_______________________________________________________

9. Would you recommend our company to prospective employees?

_______________________________________________________

10. Would you recommend our company to potential customers?

_______________________________________________________

Please share any other comments that will help us be a model employer in the future.

_______________________________________________________

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