There is no doubt about it – everyone hates them; even the managers and the bosses. Why such revulsion though? Damn straight! They are cruel and insensitive. Moreover, they are completely outdated. Do they even offer any significant advice? If you think that exit interviews are proving more of a cost, rather than being a resource for business improvisation, you are definitely not conducting them in the right manner.

Kaye, author of “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em”, has written a lot on the subject of employee retention. According to her it is important to ask your employees, “What can I do to keep you.” While what she says is right, the timing of the question keeps more importance. Where the Technology industry is unbothered about the reasons people quote in exit interviews, the HRs have simply lost tact. At a time when exit interviews are becoming superfluous, CareerBuilder India presents a few simple tips on making them mutually-meaningful.

1. The Timing: First things first, you can’t tell them that you love them on the last day of their association with your organization. That is like telling your fiancé that you love him/her while breaking your engagement. Ok, the latter is tenser but the foolishness in both cases is the same. Moreover, the employees can tell if you truly care. Just because they are engineers you can’t miss out on the soft skills with them.
2. The Participation: Solicit participation of your employees in one-on-ones, which you should hold every three months. This way your iPhone development team can discuss with you both professional and personal challenges. It could be that because of the one-on-one discussions you become more aware of employee dissatisfactions. The strategy could save you from a good 70% of exit interviews.
3. The Relevance: Exit interviews are mocked at for precluding relevance. The conversations, questioning and cross-questioning process and everything else about them feels so made up. Very rarely is an exit interview conducted with a view point of work-place improvisations. Most of the times it seems like deliberate probing.
4. The Procedure: You don’t sit and chat across the table in an exit interview. There has to be a process. Forms and feedback circulars should consume most of your time. Rather than probing the ex-employee on his future employer, ask him why he thought about getting another job. By trying to get the person to name names who helped him get the job, you won’t get a single one. It is also important to listen.
5. The Interviewer: Most of the time it is the immediate boss who conducts an exit interview. Introduce some kind of freshness in them this time. Let a mentor or an executive conduct an exit interview. You may be surprised by the talent exhibited. The exit interview may help you plan promotions and successions.

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Exit interviews have never been interesting. An employee has every reason to loathe them. And managers have every reason to improvise upon them. They rarely get anyone anywhere unless they are conducted in a sensitive and sensible manner.

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