Perhaps one of the best times to get honest employee feedback may be when they are leaving your company

Holding an exit interview can result in candid responses about an employee’s experiences with the company, providing insights current staff may be reluctant to share. Typically the most constructive conversations will be with people choosing to resign. Suggested questions include:

What prompted you to start looking for another job?

Whilst being in part personal to that individual, you can track reoccurring trends:

– “discouraged by a lack of advancement opportunities”. Are your strategies for promotions effective, and sufficiently communicated?

– “better pay elsewhere”. Are salaries out of line with the market?

Do you feel your job description changed since you were hired? In what ways?

Role responsibilities typically evolve over time:

– is the job description current and relevant, before you start to rehire?

– is the salary still in line with the actual responsibilities attached?

Did you have the training, tools, resources and working conditions to be successful in your role? Which areas could be improved? How?

This could open up a range of issues to consider:

– gaps in training process

– technology frustrations

– difficult characters to work with, staff bullying

– lighting, heating, air-conditioning

What was the best part of your job here?

The more exit interviews you conduct, the more you’re likely to hear common themes emerging which you can use to highlight to future prospective employees:

– good work-life balance?

– supportive team atmosphere?

Did management adequately recognise your contributions? How do you think recognition could be improved?

One of the drivers of workplace happiness is being thanked for a job well done.

– which employee recognition methods are effective, which are not? Ask for specific times when they felt appreciated, as well as times when they felt overlooked or taken for granted.

What can the company improve on? Staff morale?

They may have suggestions that they haven’t felt they had the opportunity to put forward. Co-workers are much more likely to discuss morale among themselves than with their managers, so this could provide insights into the current state of the entire staff, and ideas to improve on this.

– Is the chain of command effective?

– Is the reward package effective?

Were there any company policies you found difficult to understand? How can we make them clearer?

Examples could include a poorly written handbook, a discrepancy in the chain of command or incidents in which disregard for certain rules goes unpunished.

What are you most looking forward to in your new job?

If moving to a job elsewhere this could give further insights into what they found lacking in their current role, but perhaps feel uncomfortable stating.

What are they most excited about?

– Higher salary?

– Better benefits package?

– Increased flexibility?

– Better advancement prospects?

Describe the perfect candidate to replace you

This could reveal skills and qualities not apparent from the job/person specification, to use in both the role profiling, and in setting interview questions.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider returning to the company?

Particularly with the current talent shortage, many employers will keep the door open for top performers who understand and fit well with their corporate culture.

– How effective are your retention strategies (pay, perks, flexibility, progression)?

Would you recommend working at our company to a friend? Why? / why not?

This can help you discern whether an employee’s reason(s) for leaving are personal, job or company related. If they wouldn’t recommend to a friend, what do they believe the business would need to change that they would want to encourage others to work there?

Anything else you’d like to add? 

There may be positives or negatives that haven’t been brought up yet. This gives them one last chance to speak their minds.

With the requirement for any employer with 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gap data annually the onus is on organisations to understand the scale of their pay gap, why it exists and take steps to address any imbalance.

Ways to improve gender equality in the workplace and break down barriers to drive women’s career progression could  include:

With the information you gather, you’ll be better positioned to move forward with hiring an appropriate replacement, whilst taking any necessary steps to ensure current employees have everything they need to excel.

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