On Your Way Out: Exit Interviews in Organizations

Posted on June 3, 2012 in Business and Economy

By Neelima Ravindran:

The decision is made. You have chosen to leave your old job for good and move on to richer and greener pastures. And the one last gesture of conclusion to your employer-employee relationship is giving an honest and constructive explanation about the job experience and reason to quit. Or is it?

Exit interviews on paper seem to be a solution to providing insights that might increase the productivity and decrease the attrition rate. Feedback from the employees is a powerful development tool in the hands of the organizations. But for an employee who has decided to leave his present job it mostly ends up being a pain in the neck. No one likes explaining a reason for the choices they have made in their career especially to a team they are parting with. Long exit interview processes and venting your emotions about your bosses might help you to heave the burden off your chest for a short period of time, but it might lead to unlikely down sides in your professional life. It is much more practical to keep the conversations short and sentiments in check. Many of the superiors find it hard to take criticisms in their stride which may adversely affect your climb up the ladder especially if you are sticking to the same industry. Being honest may be the right thing to do but most employees wind up sugar coating their answers so as to make the break up clean and concise.

Which, of course, doesn’t serve the purpose of any organization? For most companies exit interviews have become an unwanted process that is being followed because it has to be followed. Most of the feedback from soon to be ex-employees are either diplomatic responses or emotional outbursts, both of which cannot be taken at their face value. What would help an organization affirmatively is conducting surveys about employee satisfaction or work culture every six months or so, preferably anonymously, which helps the members put forth the truth. Exit interviews should be limited to lending a compassionate and caring gesture to an employee who helped in uplifting the productivity and upholding the name of the organization instead of prodding him/her with uncomfortable questions and surveys. Let it be a positive note from the side of the organization to assert that the employees are treated with equal respect on their way out as on their way in. Let it be a sign of closure from the side of the employee to move on from any negative feelings and ensure a smooth transition into a new world.