Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Stay Interviews and Exit Interviews

In preparation for a meeting today I was thinking about exit interviews in comparison with stay interviews. As I understand it, stay interviews are about reaching out and touching (oops, bad word - let's make that listening to) each employee and showing that you care about their individual success. This is a very worthwhile endeavor and an important part of your employee retention strategy. Not to mention it being the human thing to do.

The exit interview, on the other hand, is not about the individual. You'll hear people outside of the industry say things like, "Why conduct exit interviews? It's too late once the person is already leaving." That would be true if the exit interview were about the individual but exit interviews are about the organization. The purpose of an exit interview is not to try and persuade an employee to stay. The purpose is to identify organizational strengths and weaknesses and the irritations that drive turnover. Irritations are unique to each organization and exit interviews are the most effective way to uncover them. **

Most companies (reportedly 97%) strive to do exit interviews because they sense that there is valuable information there. They are right about that but without a system in place it's a huge burden on HR to conduct exit interviews with each terminating employee. If a company manages to conduct exit interviews with a good percentage of employees who are leaving (which is a real challenge) it takes even more effort to manually compile, analyze and report on the data. Because of the huge amount of effort required, most companies that I speak with rarely come full circle to the point where they can use the information from their exit data in meaningful ways.

Today, with the advent of exit interview management systems (yes, like WebExit) HR can automate the process. With exit interview automation, HR staff can reduce time spent on conducting, compiling and creating reports and focus their time instead on actually using the data to solve organizational issues. Exit interview automation has come a long way since January of 2001 when we released WebExit. Today, at the click of a few buttons an HR Director can be identifying the exact irritations causing turnover in each department or location worldwide.

So how I see it is that we shouldn't be deciding between stay interviews versus exit interviews. The two serve unique and different purposes. The stay interview with its focus on the individual and retention and the exit interview with its focus on the organization and reduction of turnover.

Beth C.

** Most effective because
1) they take place when the employee has the least to lose and therefore can be the most candid (plus there is a strong psychological pull in most people to "say their peace" when resigning).
2) There is no added time pressure on HR to act on the data when it is received through exits as opposed to information received via focus groups and employee surveys.

Categories: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home