Due to the prolonged covid-19 pandemic control period, employees have been facing challenges in managing the disruptive changes at work and in personal lives. It is also reported that Singapore tops the chart for fatigue index and comes in second for longest hours worked in year 2020. Adding these together, according to the Work Trend Index, every 1 out of 2 Singaporeans consider of leaving their jobs.
This is an appalling trend, in which employers are encouraged to manage such mindsets with care and empathy. Recently, many employers have prepared welcome packs for employees returning to office, superiors sent appreciation gifts to employees’ residence etc. These are good acts of appreciation to employees., Nonetheless, these caring actions does not address the deeper issues on why are many employees still wanting to leave.
High turnover will aggravate negative impact on employees’ morale, especially during times of high uncertainties. To counteract, employers need to dive deep to know what their employees are thinking or feeling. One of the ways is through Exit Interview.
Exit interview is a commonly used tool for employers to gather feedback from leavers to better understand the real reasons for leaving the organisations. When the offboarding processes are managed well and leavers’ feedback are taken genuinely, exit interview goes a long way. Besides reducing employees’ turnover, other benefits of well managed exit interview are : enable employers’ to understand what they are doing right, identify areas of improvement and development, enhance improve productivity raise concerns on organisation’s culture or misconducts etc.
I attended a workshop on Effective Exit Interview a few years back. The trainer a HR veteran and had vast experience in this space. I have acquired good takeaways and put them into practice. I want to share these, adding some personal inputs, with fellow friends who read this article without prejudice :
1. To include Organisations’ values in the questionnaire
Form or questionnaire (online or paper) is the basic tool to collate information. When designing one, it is important to include direct questions for standard answers (or example, reasons for leaving) and open-ended questions for areas such as ‘what could have kept you from leaving?’. Questions should be easy to understand.
There is no one-size-fit-all questionnaire. Yes, there are much resources available in the internet. Organisations can adopt questionnaire template from the relevant sources and yet customise to include questions related to the organisation’s values. For examples, how do you find the company’s values? Or ‘Are the following company’s values?’ Such questions help to know if there is misalignment or mismatch in leavers’ understanding towards the values.
2. interview session is essential
Organisations should not equate the number of leavers to number of completed questionnaires received for a period and close the case. Questionnaires only provide information within the scope of the questions asked. To gain deeper understanding, exit interviews are essential. During such sessions, ask relevant questions specifically to leaver’s role, the team and immediate supervisors. Both parties can also clarify on unclear answers in the questionnaire.
Interviews may be deemed as time consuming. However, interviewers have shared that they have gained insights which they would have missed if all the answers are left through the questionnaires.
3. Interview quality and exit reports
When conducting exit interviews, the interviewer should be one of the leaders in the organisation or experienced HR practitioners (mutual parties). This is to maximise the fact finding session and to obtain better insights. One pitfall to avoid is conducting an interview for the sake of ticking off in the exit checklist.
It is needful for interviewer to prepare interview reports and submit to upper management for review and action planning.
4. Respect the leavers and uphold strictest confidentiality
Exit interviews are not compulsory in the eyes of the law. Leavers can choose not to complete the exit questionnaire or not attend the interview.
Before the start of each interview session, it is essential for interviewer to assure the leaver that the information pooled will be kept with strictest confidentiality and will only be shared with the core management team and HR. The leaver should also be assured that neither he or she will be ‘punished’ for the information provided, nor 'retribution' will come upon him/her. Leaver will be more willing to share truthfully when he/she is comfortable and feels that the interviewer can be trusted. Most importantly, all assurances given are to be kept.
Discover, or rediscover exit interview! Good practices in this goes a long way for your organisation!
Should you wish to engage consultancy services in exit interview management, please feel free to contact LigtwayHR.com