Exit interviews are conducted to generate feedback from employees with the goal to lower employee turnover rate, raise employee retention, and to improve aspects of the organization as a whole. After conducting the interviews and reviewing the data, organizations will use the employees’ suggestions to create a better organization for which their employees want to work and succeed.
Because of the realities and challenges of an effective exit interview, HR should consider how to collect exit information and who they use to collect the information. A successful interview process is based on the interaction between an interviewer and the interviewee. When an interviewer presents themselves as authentic, professional, and effective in communication, the likelihood that former employees will reveal insights and information about an organization increases.
Each company has to decide whether or not to conduct the interviews internally, normally by a supervisor or the HR department, or to outsource the exit interviews so they are conducted by a third party. Internal exit interviews benefit the company by creating more meaningful conversation within the organization by building trust and by offering a more individualized interview.
Because of the emotionality of the working relationship, it can be difficult to obtain truly objective reports from your employees if information is collected by members of your organization. The relationship between an employee and a supervisor can impact reactions to the work environment positively or negatively without revealing the most accurate and authentic information.
On the other hand, external exit interviews benefit the organization with the potential for employees to be more candid, by providing a reliable opportunity to address supervisor issues, by providing more consistent data that is organized for reporting and trend development, and by ensuring the interviews take place.
They both offer great benefit to the organization that the other can’t offer, but what are the differences between the two?
- More accurate responses - Up to 63% of reasons for leaving change when conducted by an external party after the employee has left.1,2
- Increased response rates - Response rates increase by nearly 40% when conducting exit interviews by an external third party.3
- Anonymity - Professional, external interviews allow an employee to remain anonymous allowing an employee to feel comfortable revealing information about their employee experience that he or she might not otherwise say to an immediate supervisor or other individuals inside the organization.
Not understanding the REAL reasons that employees leave, as seen by responses changing up to 40% of the time is an alarming number when realizing that companies base significant organizational change on exit interview data. Exit interviews are an effective tool for human resource strategy, but only if the information provided is accurate, open, and with adequate detail to shape future HR decisions.
By using a third party for employee feedback, your organization can collect data from your employees that will be more accurate and valid than information collected internally. This objective and unbiased process allows the organization to address areas of genuine importance to the organization’s strategic needs.
1. Campion, Michael A. "Meaning and measurement of turnover: Comparison of alternative measures and recommendations for research." Journal of Applied Psychology 76.2 (1991): 199.
2. Hinrichs, John R. "Measurement of reasons for resignation of professionals: Questionnaire versus company and consultant exit interviews." Journal of Applied Psychology 60.4 (1975): 530.
3. Gordon, Management Communication Quarterly, 2011