Exit interviews: They’re a unique opportunity for reflection for the company and employee that can provide closure for the employee and improvement for the organization. When handled the right way, exit interviews can be incredibly beneficial to your company’s future plans and processes. But all too often they become a mandatory ritual that isn’t taken seriously by either party.

It’s time to harness the power of the exit interview! Learn how to strengthen your company by making exit interviews count with the following post by Arden Coaching.

Rule #1: L-I-S-T-E-N

Exit Interview ChecklistThe golden rule for taking the advice you get from your former employee and putting it to good use is to listen. We don’t mean to look like you’re listening; we mean to really listen. Have the speaker feel that you hear them (sustain good eye contact, reiterate what they say to show you understand, etc.) and make sure that you’re actively present in the conversation.

If you’re tuned out and just going through the motions while your interviewee gabs about their experiences, even if you have a written record you can reference later, you’re less likely to remember let alone act on what they had to say. Plus that doesn’t look good on your part.

Instead of seeing it as an end, treat the exit interview as a new beginning for improvement within your organization and you’ll be more likely to be all ears.

Rule #2: Seek to Heal the Relationship

This employee’s last day may or may not be one you’re looking forward to. This could be one of your rising stars who shocked you with their two-weeks’ notice or this may have been a move you anticipated for quite some time. No matter the circumstance, you want to be the best company they ever left.

Start by thanking them for their service and contributions to the team. Also thank them for taking the time to share their honest feedback with them during the interview itself.

If this employee hasn’t had the best experience, be the best experience they’ve had as they’re going out the door. Why? Because you never know where things will be several months or years down the road. People come back, companies merge, and you don’t want to have any bad feelings still present when you say what may (or may not be!) your last goodbyes.

Rule #3: Be Respectful and Sincere When It Comes to Suggestions

Now to the meat of the interview content. The little question that can be said so many different ways: Is there anything we could have done better?

There’s a good chance that your interviewee will have suggestions of ways to improve the current processes that they experienced during their time as an employee. The only way the company can grow from this feedback is to respect it and make a plan for moving forward.

Remember that suggestions from soon-to-be former employees often echo the voices of your current workers. This individual has the added freedom of saying what they really feel and are more likely to be brutally honest with you, which is the most helpful type of feedback you can get!

Rule #4: When Advice Becomes Action, Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Close Up HandshakeAre you noticing any patterns or common trends in the feedback that you’ve received across former workers? These are the most pressing weaknesses (and often the most difficult to accept) that are contributing to your employee turnover. What will you do about them?

When you do implement changes based on an employee’s suggestions, make sure that you follow up with them about how it’s helped move the organization forward. This brings the exit interview process full circle and to a true close.

Exit Interviews Show the Vital Link Between Feedback and Communication

Successful exit interviews aren’t cookie-cutter or by the books. When the interviewer takes initiative and the interviewee is willing to share, they can end a boss-employee relationship on positive terms and provide your organization with actionable fuel for future growth and retainment. Make the most of them!

Exit interviews are just one of the many types of feedback crucial to success in business. At the root of all feedback, upward and downward? Communication.

Interested in learning more about the important role communication plays in the workplace? Download our free guide 5 Questions You May Have About Improving Your Employees’ Interpersonal and Communication Skills. This guide will help you get the ball rolling with tips on how to evaluate your employees’ current communication skills and how to help them improve.

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