Sooner or later even the best employer is faced with an employee resignation. Employees resign for many reasons, and some are completely beyond your control. 
 
However, when a valued employee resigns, it’s only natural to think “I wonder what we could have done to stop them deciding to leave”. Although, even at this late stage, it is always worth exploring whether there are any opportunities to get them to stay. 
 
While you may be too late to save someone who has already handed in their notice, a constructive exit interview process may help you to prevent it happening in the future. An effective exit interview helps you part company on good terms and helps identify: 
 
• Why the employee wants to leave 
• What your organisation does well 
• Where you can make improvements 
• That the skills and experience needed for the job are set correctly 
 
Exit interviews are an ideal way of gathering information to help you improve your employee engagement and retention. While they should be available to any employee who is leaving, participation is entirely voluntary. The ideal time to conduct the exit interview is 2 weeks into a month’s notice period. By this time, the emotions around the resignation have settled and the employee who is leaving is not yet tied up in a busy handover. It is often the line manager of the employee who conducts the exit interview. However, if you have an HR manager/consultant, it is a good idea to use them to carry out the interview as they are typically seen as more impartial. 
 
Exit interviews can be conducted face-to-face, over the telephone or by written questionnaire. Face-to-face and telephone interviews allow you ask follow up questions to employee responses, which can lead to obtaining additional insights. Although some employees may be more open and honest with information if they can write down their thoughts and feelings. 
 
To make the exiting employee more comfortable, it helps to explain that the interview is an opportunity get their honest feedback on aspects of the company and to ask for their opinion on areas that could be improved. If you start with a friendly discussion rather than move directly into the exit questions, it will help the employee feel more at ease. 
 
Always try to end the meeting on a positive note. Thank the employee for their contribution and service to your company and wish them luck in their new role. 
 
Finally, having acquired the information from employees who decide to leave, it’s important to put it to good use. If there is feedback and guidance needed for line managers or it’s necessary to change some of the company’s procedures, don’t neglect to address any issues that have been identified. 
 
If you would like to find out more on exit interviews or would like help to create your exit interview process, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 
 
For all your HR advice and support whether in Luton or anywhere in the UK, look no further than Plain Talking HR. 
 
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