An exit interview is held with an employee who is about to leave employment. The employee’s reasons for leaving and workplace experience are discussed during the exit interview.

It can be a valuable tool for an employer. It should be viewed as an opportunity to discover potential problem areas and practices within the workplace, which will assist in avoiding a high turnover rate of employees in the business. The goal of any successful business should be to retain valued, skilled and trained employees. When an exit interview is conducted with the necessary care, it can provide a flow of valuable feedback and insight into the operations of a workplace.

It generally consists of a candid and frank discussion between the employer and employee regarding the workplace culture, company rules and procedures, staff interaction, morale, job satisfaction and business operations. Whilst not compulsory or regulated by South African labour legislation, it is advised that employers embrace an exit interview process to learn why departing employees leave, what would make them stay and how the workplace should change. Departing employees are often more forthcoming about the workplace than those still in employment.

The general purpose of the exit interview should be to obtain the following information:

  1. The employee’s reasons for leaving the position.
  2. The employee’s experience and relationships with colleagues and management.
  3. Whether the employee was adequately equipped and provided with the necessary tools to complete duties and responsibilities.
  4. Gain an understanding of the employee’s perception of the work itself.
  5. Enquire whether the employee has suggestions or ideas to improve the workplace.
  6. Learn about competing businesses.

The feedback will help the employer identify areas that can help to improve staff retention, provide closure to both parties and ultimately enhance the recruitment process. It is essential to keep a record of all exit interviews conducted over time which data can be used to reduce employee turnover.

Done correctly, exit interviews can have an extremely positive impact on a business and encourage employee engagement in the long run.

Article By: Ruaan Heunis
Provincial Manager – CEO Gqeberha