Make Your Leaver Think

I’ve been doing a lot of exit interviews lately. They’re interesting and are all fine, but I’m left thinking from more than one of them – yeah well how about I give you some feedback too.

And that’s when it struck me. Why don’t we do that? I may be missing an ‘innovation’ in HR, but this is what I’m thinking. The exit interview should be a 2 part process. Part 1 is about the leaver giving us feedback and insight about why they’re leaving. Part 2 should be about giving the leaver feedback about their time with us, their performance, things they did well, badly, key highlights from their time with us and key lows. Think of it as a 360 exit interview.

Imagine the power behind that. Now it’s not just leavers giving the business reasons why they need to improve, but (genuinely) the business helping the leaver to go with vital information for their own career and future development.

This is one of those scary things that HR types would go – are you crazy?! Imagine the time, effort, and what’s the payback for us? And here’s why it should be done. We care about investing in an individual when they are with us. From the moment they join, we give them an onboarding programme, make training available to them, set objectives, entrust them with projects, expect amazing things.

And all that is geared up to them shouting about us to their networks so they come and work for us. So why wouldn’t we do this for when they leave? Their leaving should be equally a fulfilled experience outside of the form filling side of the process. They should have a final piece of interaction with the business that says – we still want you to have amazing things to say about us as an agency and this is something we believe will help you grow as an individual in your career.

Cynicism and negativity aside, I’d be interested in your comments on this.


Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

4 thoughts on “Make Your Leaver Think”

  1. >I find it hard to believe that anyone would not naturally do this with any leaver. Staff are not machines, they are people and the work environment is about getting what I need from an employee in exchange for giving what they want.Only the most inept manager would view a transaction such as this as being one in which any balance of power could be of any relevance.Of course I recognise that there are a huge number of inept managers out there.

  2. >@ Lord – I think what tends to happen is if the employee/manager have a good relationship this may happen informally. Where this relationship does not exist, this doesn't happen at all. In fact it's almost like a slow grind waiting for the respective person to leave. What I'm suggesting is a formal process that every leaver should take part in. This should account for the inept manager, and any delusions of power they may think they hold.

  3. >I think this definitely exists in an informal way already. Also, when a good relationship continues between employer/manager and ex-employee the feedback loop is likely to continue, and retains its importance. As time goes on the prospect of an ex-employee returning increases.The painful part of the executing this is, of course, if the departing person failed to meet your expectations (especially given all the resources made available to them, as you say.) I'm not sure how productive the process would be if it were to leave that person demoralized or disappointed.

  4. >@ Paul CarvillThat's the challenge with adopting a process like this. It needs to be handled by someone who has experience of using proper 360 tools for personal development purposes. There are a lot of consultancies that offer this, but not for exit interview purposes. In truth the process is no similar, the outcome is the only difference.Even well trained internal people could do this, but it would be a difficult conversation for anyone to be part of.I think though, that's where this idea has true merit. We're still offering the leaver a rich experience even though they're leaving us.

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