Terminating employees because of performance issues, lack of work or change in business circumstances (redundancy, downsizing) can be a difficult and complex process. Employees may also choose to leave your business for a multitude of reasons. To help make the leaving process easier, use the Employee exit checklist for examples of things you may need to do when an employee leaves your business.
How exit interviews can help you
Exit interviews with departing employees can be a useful source of information for your business. Knowing the reasons for someone leaving may help you to make changes in the workplace so that others don’t leave for the same reasons.
The exit interview should be conducted like any other interview. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. It may be useful to have a third party conduct the exit interview to allow for a open and honest discussion. Sometimes, people won’t want to participate in an exit interview or they may tell you what they think you want to hear. Nonetheless giving departing employees the opportunity to have a say is very important. After all, they may be persuaded to come back at a later time, perhaps bringing with them new skills and ideas that may add value to your business.
Exit interviews may reveal things such as:
the aspects of the job the employee enjoyed most and least;
whether working conditions might be improved;
if interpersonal relationships need to be managed better – for example, between individual employees or management;
whether your recruitment, selection and induction processes are flawed or give applicants a distorted view of the job or organisation;
if training and professional development opportunities are lacking; and
the true level of team or organisational morale.
Consider business security
When an employee is leaving it is important to sensitively request the return of the required items, so you don’t convey disrespect or distrust. It is also important to remind departing employees of any confidentiality clauses that may have been part of their contract of employment.
The exit process should also be managed from a security point of view. Consider what needs to be returned or terminated, for example:
name badges and identification devices;
keys or pass cards;
portable file storage devices and other electronic access devices; laptops and mobile phones;
work tools and privilege cards such as a petrol card or company credit card;
passwords and email accounts.
It is important to ensure the exit process is as positive as possible, remember that former staff will talk about your organisation to family and friends.