Can Exit Interviews Help Your Small Business?

Blogs / February 10, 2017

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At LinkNow Media, we’ve written in the past about ways to increase employee engagement, morale, and retention, but an area that we haven’t yet touched on is the exit interview. Unlike previous posts that involved ways of helping current employees, the exit interview focuses on former employees. The exit interview isn’t meant to grill an employee about why they’re leaving, but rather it’s a way to gain insight into what’s working and what isn’t. Keep in mind that this can be an awkward conversation to have for someone who has cleaned up their desk and is on their way, so keep it casual. If you regularly conduct exit interviews, your employees likely know what to expect.

Below you will find three questions that you should ask your employees during an exit interview. While simple on the surface, they can bring the conversation in different directions.

Why are you leaving?

This is an obvious question, and one that you might already know the answer to. In most cases, a new opportunity has presented itself – but why exactly have they accepted a new job? For financial reasons? Poor management? A closer commute? Determining the factors for their departure can shed light on areas that may be hurting employee retention. It might be time to rethink pay structure, management, or work location.

What aspects do you like about your job?

Leaving a job can be difficult. For many, it means saying goodbye to friends, leaving a comfort zone, and a wonderful work environment. This is what makes it so hard to give that two week notice. Chances are, they have loads of good stuff to say. Finding out an employee’s likes will help you to expand on what’s already working.

What aspects do you dislike?

Again, this isn’t about grilling an employee. If, overall, they had a positive work experience, they’ll be more than happy to point out areas that need improvement, they’re leaving behind friends after all. This is an opportunity for them to provide suggestions for their sake. You can’t fix what you don’t know if broken.

Final Thoughts

Current employees may feel reluctant to speak openly and directly about their likes and dislikes. An employee with one foot out the door is your most reliable source for learning about weak spots within your small business. If you aren’t conducting exit interviews, you are missing out on the opportunity to gain constructive feedback for improvement. What are your thoughts on exit interviews? Are they an effective way to work out kinks, or do they just make for an awkward goodbye? At LinkNow Media, we would love to hear your thoughts.


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