29th January 2018

HR Issues – Prevent exit interviews with stay interviews

One of the main goals of any human resources departments is to find and retain talent. In order to do this, organisations must constantly be seeking out information about employee experience and satisfaction. Once this information is attained, human resources professionals can strategically improve processes and policies to create a better work environment. It is crucial that organisations are aware of whether its employees feel encouraged and supported in the work place.

Exit interviews have traditionally been an outlet through which HR professionals gather such information. Exit interviews are conducted to gain a deeper understanding of why an employee is leaving, and they can be very helpful if conducted correctly.  If not done correctly, exit interviews can quickly turn into a venting session for bitter employees. Therefore, the following are “7 hot tips” for organising an effective exit interview:

  1. Carry them out as close to the employee leaving so that they are honest.
  2. Ensure you communicate how and when the information will be shared i.e. confidential but be very helpful if agree to any learning points being shared after they have left.
  3. Collate data together into HR metrics on an annual basis to show key reasons why people leave your organisation.
  4. Send to employee the questions beforehand so that there are no surprises and they can think about their answers.
  5. Comply with the General Data Protection Regulation such as who sees any personal data and how long the information is retained.
  6. Act on any learning points.
  7. A neutral person should carry out the exit interviews and one that is skilled in listening, probing and being curious.

The purpose of an exit interview is to reflect on an experience in order to identify necessary change. Those that choose to leave can provide helpful insight and feedback on leadership and management. However, it can sometimes be discouraging when interviewing employees who are asked to leave. Therefore, it is important to maintain a learning mind-set throughout the process and conduct the interviews with the intention of improving the organisation’s workplace.

Though exit interviews are important, why wait to find out what went wrong until the talent is walking out the door? A second outlet that should be considered as a way to collect employee feedback is “stay interviews.” Stay interviews may be more informative and possibly more powerful than exit interviews, they certainly have the ability to prevent them. Stay interviews provide the opportunity to hear from employees of why they stay with you and implement change while the talent is still working in the organisation. Stay interviews build trust and show employees that their perspective, emotions, frustrations, and ideas are valued.

Both interview techniques are beneficial when trying to improve workplace experiences and culture; however, one keeps talent in the door. For that reason, it is worth exploring how stay interviews can help retain talent and improve your organisation.

If you would like further information or assistance with developing your Attraction, Retention and Talent Management Strategy please do not hesitate to contact Stephanie Harper, Head of HR Projects at

29th January 2018