As a small business, it’s important to use employee feedback to create a comfortable and efficient company culture. And when it comes to fixing your culture issues or replicating your successes, the more you know, the better.
While it’s difficult to get subordinates to give honest criticism to their managers and superiors for obvious reasons, there is one golden opportunity to collect this raw data: an exit interview.
Think of an exit interview as the opposite of a hiring interview: it’s done as employees are leaving your company rather than entering it. By eliminating the main concern employees have with giving honest feedback (losing their job), your chances for getting candid information that can lead to valuable insights are high.
Not sure how to conduct an exit interview? They can certainly be tricky, but there’s one thing you can do to make the process much easier. Start by creating a standardized exit interview form.
What’s an exit interview form and why should I use it?
Just like its name suggests, it’s a form that you and your fellow leaders can use to guide and structure exit interviews. The best thing about an exit interview form is that it can help to make sure you don’t miss any important topics in the heat of the exit interview. Having a predetermined form can also make sure that the conversation stays on a constructive track and make the (ex)employee feel more comfortable. Researching and creating these questions beforehand can help ensure that you’re giving your departing employees every opportunity to share their good and bad experiences at your company.
How to create an exit interview form
Like all things in the small business world, you should tailor your exit interview form to reflect the information you’d like to get that’s specific to your company. If there’s a certain software you use, for example, and you aren’t sure that it’s working for your employees, add a question about it to your exit interview form.
There are a few components that should be included on almost every exit interview form in order for it to be effective, though:
- What encouraged that employee to leave? Even if your employee is leaving to pursue a better opportunity, you’ll want to know what they were lacking at your company that made him or her go on the hunt. In any instance, learning about what triggered and employee to leave can help to identify areas of improvement for your organization.
- Did this employee have good professional relationships? If you have managers or bullying co-workers driving talent away, you’ll want to know as soon as you can. Alternatively, this can help you identify strengths, too, if they have great things to say about a particular manager.
- Did the job description accurately match the work? Sometimes employees leave because of discrepancies in expectations that stem all the way back to the original job posting.
- Was he/she given the tools to succeed? If your workers aren’t getting the tools or support to succeed at their jobs, they’re going to eventually go somewhere that they can shine.
- Were there any missing benefits, perks, or opportunities? Sometimes it’s as simple as offering a certain benefit that employees are after.
- What could the company, his/her manager, or you personally do to improve? Remember, it’s all about candid feedback. It might hurt to hear, but once you know where you’re failing you can begin to change things.