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Importance of Exit Interviews

Comments 5 Comments   Views 83 Views     About 12-04-2010

Exit interviews in most of the organizations are nothing but a mere ritual.

According to me, an exit interview is more important than the preliminary rounds of interviews conducted at the time of recruitment. It is more important because you are talking to you own employee, who has been there, done that, seen all. The perspective that you get from an employee who is leaving, most of the times is unbiased.


Whatever the reason for the employee to leave the organization, the exit interview should be given the time and effort it deserves, because it is the most honest feedback you would get from an employee about your organization. At the time of leaving an organization, an employee is not unduly worried about voicing his opinion and hence he would speak the truth. Truth, which many organizations do NOT want to hear. Hence the value of an exit interviews is always undermined in such organizations.


There is a popular saying “Employees do not leave organizations, but leave their managers”. In spite of how much we detest this truth, it is very much prevalent and more and more people leave managers to find others, although there is no guarantee that your next manager in the next organization would be better, or less cynical, or less concerned about your career. An employee simply gets fed up and puts down his papers.

One other thing I feel should change in organizations it the timing of the Exit Interviews. Usually it is done on the employees’ last working day or a day before that. Hence it just becomes a ritual. I am sure if a professional counsellor talks to the employee as soon as he/she puts down his papers, am sure we should be able to make a difference in the statistics of holding them back to a significant extent.


How many organizations actually invest in either maintaining a professional counselor/outsource this need to an external agency ? NIL.

Having said that, there are HR professionals who take this ritual rather seriously and try to get an idea about the probable causes that led to this irreparable damage. I call it irreparable because it takes a huge organization cost to hire a new person, train him, to put him on the job and by the time he starts being productive, it would take months of effort.


Whereas, if we are able to retain the existing employee, it would translate to many months of productivity. Sounds simple ? Yes it might be simple, provided organizations started putting more emphasis on employees leaving their organizations than on hiring. The emphasis has always been on hiring, to bring in human bodies into the system. The very approach to the exit interviews have to change for organizations to cut on their humongous training costs and instead invest that money on retaining employees who are ready-made to give the productivity, that you are so afraid to lose.


The concept of professional counsellors is still in its nascent stages in India and it might take some more time. But am sure there is a need for a professional counsellor who would step up to this role, maybe as an employee, or as n outside consultant to fill this gap. I am sure even if we are talking about a 25% attrition rate for an X organization, and if this initiative does bring in about 1% change in the values, we are still talking about millions of dollars spent on training, recruitment, wait-time-for-productivity, etc.





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Krishnamohan
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Krishnamohan 18-04-2010  
yes, to retain the employee/s of the organization a professional cousellor must be needed for any type of organization. an employer/boss cannot motivate the employee to stick on d company but a best counsellor ..
Harish
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Harish 17-04-2010  
@Krishnamohan: You are absolutely right. But the learnings have to incorporated into the CompBen strategy as well as the wholesome HR agenda to have a meaningful impact on retention.
Harish
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Harish 17-04-2010  
Thanks Vinod and Krishnamohan for your valuable comments.
@Vinod : Yes Vinod, I am totally with you when you say some survey needs to be undertaken, but I anticipate that majority of the companies would not want to share the actual reasons their employees left to a third party. This should actually be done in the company and a thorough vetting of the reasons would surely benefit the long term goal of retaining performing employees.
Krishnamohan
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Krishnamohan 16-04-2010  
yes, by exit interviews hr perceives the need of the employee, and can implement the strategy for existing employees in their promotion, incentives etc.,
Vinod
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Vinod 12-04-2010  
I completely agree, in a long run you will see a valuable survey done, to address the pain points

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