As The Door Closes

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Back in the day, it was pretty common to get a phone call at home from the Gallup Poll with some person wanting to ask how you felt about a particular brand of chicken or toothpaste. Or you might go to the mall and someone would ask you to participate in a survey about a particular movie or restaurant. Back then it was a challenge to find out what people were thinking. Now it’s ridiculously easy. But for some reason, when it comes to finding out how people feel about working for a particular company, a lot of employers still use ineffective, old school exit interview methods.

I’m talking about somebody from HR sitting there with a piece of paper awkwardly asking employees about their experience at the company when they’re on their way out the door. These are difficult interactions since somebody is usually unhappy about the departure. But as the Society for Human Resource Management points out, this is a really important part of the whole employment cycle. It’s the moment when employees are likely to tell you the truth about some things they might have been harboring—things that can impact morale, recruiting, and culture going forward.

And, as John Pate, CEO of EZexitinterview.com notes, it can help spare you a lawsuit, too. If you have the data, you can spot behavior that might not only be driving employees away, but might also be fodder for a case against someone in your company based on abuse or discrimination.

We Have The Technology

Pate’s company has created a tool that gathers that data. With EZexitinterview, departing employees get a text or email with a link to an exit interview. The company has one interview for people who quit, another for those who were “let go” as we say.

It’s a quick interview, just a few questions about why the employee is leaving—if they’re going voluntarily—that might signal management or compensation issues. There are questions about how employees felt managers and co-workers treated them, that can signal culture or behavior issues. And there are follow up questions and opportunities to volunteer thoughts. It’s faster than an in-person conversation and it feeds into a real-time report that lets you see key trends regarding why employee turnover is happening.

It also flags language of exiting employees that sounds abusive or violent, which can alert employers to the possibility of a given employee coming back and doing harm at the business.

Pate’s average response rate is 40 percent, which is incredibly high in terms of getting honest feedback from former employees. And it’s immediately fed into reports instead of lost—which is what happens to the information from most employees who are leaving the company. As Pate points out, that’s institutional knowledge walking out the door.

Some things about people don’t change. Sometimes people lie about their performance. Sometimes great employees leave. Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable talking about what went wrong. Using a software or app that makes it easy and fast and removes the awkwardness and emotion is one change you can make that will turn an exit from a weird transaction into a rich source of organizational data.

It’s taking HR into the 21st Century, which we’re all about.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.