Losing a worker can be a setback, but the silver lining is that exit interviews can offer employers the opportunity to obtain useful feedback to help them improve their organizations and avoid further turnover, says a new study from staffing firm OfficeTeam, a Robert Half Company.

Sixty-three percent of the human resources managers surveyed for the study said their company commonly acts on feedback from exit interviews.

When asked how they use the information learned in these meetings, 29 percent of respondents stated they update job descriptions. Another 24 percent address comments about management, while 22 percent make changes to the company culture. Other HR managers respond by reviewing employee salaries (19 percent) or benefits (5 percent).

“Departing workers can provide valuable insights that current staff may be reluctant to share,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Although not every criticism will be worth responding to, the most crucial issues should be addressed immediately to help keep existing team members happy and loyal.”

OfficeTeam offered some advice for employers conducting exit interviews:

  • Keep the conversation brief and professional.
  • Have an HR representative conduct one-on-one meetings in a private setting, as departing employees may be uncomfortable discussing certain subjects with their immediate supervisors.
  • Ask as many open-ended questions as possible, including why the worker is leaving, what the person liked and disliked about the company, and for recommendations for improvements.
  • Give all comments the proper attention and check for patterns that may signal persistent problems.
  • Remember that the most helpful exit interviews take place with people who leave voluntarily.

Source: OfficeTeam