Learning from leavers – don’t skip the exit interview

When an employee leaves your employment, your attention may naturally go straight to thinking about their replacement. You need people in place to keep your business operational after all.

Most notice periods are around one month long, which can fly by. During this time, you may need to advertise your vacancy, interview prospective candidates and begin onboarding.

Ideally your leaver will still be working their notice period when their replacement comes onboard, so that they can assist in the handover process. The next best scenario would be to have them update or contribute to some training documents, to make sure that everything is up to date for your new starter.

As resourcing becomes a top priority, other tasks may take a back seat. It’s equally as important though, to set some time aside for an exit interview and leaver’s checklist for your departing employee, no matter the circumstances under which they are leaving.

How a process for leavers helps your business

Just as you may have an induction checklist for new employees, it’s as important to follow an exit process when someone leaves. Failing to do so leaves your business open to risk.

Even if this isn’t your first leaver and you feel confident about tying up any loose ends, a checklist serves as an important reminder. It can also be kept on file for future reference, which is helpful if you receive any later queries about final pay or outstanding holiday entitlement.

Your leaver checklist should help you to ensure that all company property is returned, access to systems is revoked and payroll is updated. Don’t forget to check for any outstanding expense claims.

Another important item to add to your checklist is to book in an exit interview. You’ll no doubt be squeezing in interviews with potential candidates and may not have expected one of those slots to be with your leaver, but there are many benefits to sitting down with them before they go.

Why you should conduct exit interviews

An exit interview presents a good opportunity to learn from your departing employee, to see if you need to make any improvements to your business.

Use this time to ask for feedback about their time with you, what did they feel went well or could have gone better.

You may think you already know their reason for leaving, nevertheless an exit interview gives you the chance to find out for certain and ask questions. At this point, an employee is more likely to be open and honest with you and you can gain valuable insight into your business.

This may also be the last chance to leave things on good terms. The alternative could be a disgruntled employee venting on an employer review site, so it’s better to give them a private audience instead.

Not only is it helpful to part ways on good terms for well-being and reputation, but it minimises the risk of a future claim coming back to bite you. That would be the last thing you need when you’ll likely be busy training up a replacement.

What if the employee is not leaving voluntarily? You will have likely had meetings with them relating to dismissal or redundancy already, but an exit interview has a different purpose and there are still benefits to be gained from conducting one. Remember that attendance to an exit interview is voluntary for the employee.

A helping hand from HR

When an employee leaves your business, it can be emotional, for many reasons. The HR Dept Durham can be a mutual third party to help you navigate your leavers checklist and exit interviews.

Read more.

Learning from leavers – don’t skip the exit interview

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