Parting ways with employees is never easy– whether it was their decision or yours. The time spent recruiting, hiring, and training those employees and the potential for information lost in that transition can feel overwhelming.
However, there’s another way to look at departing employees: an opportunity to mine crucial information. When an employee leaves your company, you gain the opportunity to conduct an exit interview, which can lead to valuable insights regarding everything from how your management team operates to the reality of what it’s like to work at different levels of your company.
This interview should be standardized and approached with sensitivity, and information should be collected in a controlled fashion so that it is easily actionable moving forward. The good news is there’s an easy solution: using an exit interview template in your off-boarding process.
Why an exit interview template makes a difference
Using an exit interview template can ensure that you cover all the important topics necessary to get useful information during the course of an exit interview. It will help keep interviewer and interviewee on track, even if conversation devolves into unrelated complaints or emotional discussions.
What’s more, a streamlined exit interview system, complete with an exit interview template, can actually reduce turnover at your small business. By understanding what’s causing employees to leave and addressing those issues, you should see turnover reduce over time.
Exit interview template
While the most important thing is tailoring your exit interview template to your company’s needs, here are the general sections that an exit interview template should include as well as a few example questions for each.
Section 1: The employee’s leaving
It’s important to understand what made the employee decide to leave and to touch on both internal and external factors:
What is your primary reason for leaving?
Did anything specific trigger your decision to leave?
What does your new company offer that this company doesn’t?
Section 2: Employee satisfaction
This is a major reason that people leave their jobs, so it’s important to dedicate time to this subject when you’re departing with an employee and they’re more likely to be candid:
What was most satisfying about your job?
What was least satisfying about your job?
What did you like most about (company name)?
What did you like least about (company name)?
Were you happy with your pay, benefits and other incentives?
Section 3: Tools and resources
These questions are important to include in an exit interview template because the resources and opportunities you give your employees are ripe with easily actionable fixes depending on the feedback:
Did you receive adequate support to do your job?
Did you receive sufficient feedback about your performance?
Did you feel you had opportunities to learn and grow at (company name)?
Section 4: Company culture
It’s important that you add tailored questions to this section that reflect the specifics of your company culture:
What would you improve to make our workplace/culture better?
Section 5: Leadership
It can be hard to find genuine feedback about managers and leadership from current employees, so asking their honest opinion as they leave the company is essential:
How do you feel about your immediate manager? What do they do well? Any feedback for improvement?
How do you feel about (company name)’s leadership team in general? What do they do well? Any feedback for improvement?
Section 6: Additional information
Be sure to give your employee the opportunity to talk about things not included in your exit interview template. This is a great opportunity to revise the questions on your template in the future:
Anything else you think we should know about your experience at (company name)?