Years ago, we used a long exit interview form. Typically associates leaving the organization rejected it outright or got frustrated at how much detail we were asking for about the reasons they were leaving the organization. Our current exit interviews – that we do when we want to better understand an associate’s experience – follow a fairly simple script:
Based on your experience at Luck, please give me one or two examples of what we should:
- Start Doing
- Stop Doing
- Keep Doing
in order to create a great place to work?
We also follow up on their experience with the culture. Given our values, we often ask:
During your experience at Luck:
Please share some examples of how we put our values into action.
Please share some examples of how we did not put or values into action.
If it’s a higher level, experienced person, we want to understand his or her story – there always is one. Occasionally it’s about money, but more often the individual is leaving because of a career opportunity or conflict with the boss (it really is true—most employees leave bosses, not organizations.) In this case, we might ask:
Tell me about your decision to leave Luck Companies – I’d like to understand your story so we can improve our associates’ experience working in the organization.
Sometimes it’s as easy as:
Would you mind sharing where you are going to work and what you are going to be doing?
You might finish with:
Is there anything else you’d like to share, or that you want us to know?
A few things to remember: Your goal is to get data about why they left. In order to do that, you will need to ask a few questions, and mostly listen. If they feel safe enough or angry enough, they will tell you. Don’t defend, deny, explain, or apologize, just stay neutral and ask. Then thank them for their feedback even if you don’t agree. After all, it’s just data, data you can use to improve the organization.