The exit process and how to handle it

Written by
Changeboard Team

23 Jan 2014

23 Jan 2014 • by Changeboard Team

What's your exit process like?

When managed carefully, the exit interview is an invaluable way to gain insights about your organisation. Departing employees are typically more forthcoming than staff who are still in their jobs. A Robert Walters whitepaper, which surveyed 1,000 candidates and hiring managers in Australia and New Zealand found that 79% of professionals give honest and constructive feedback during exit interviews, and that most professionals believe that the exit process is a useful exercise.

Your company culture will dictate how formal or informal your exit process should be, but there are some general guidelines that everyone can follow to get the best outcome for your business and the departing employee. At the very least, youll ensure the person leaving has a platform to voice any concerns and exits the business on good terms.

Encourage employees to come to you first

In the latest Robert Walters whitepaper, The Exit Process: How to Gain Valuable Insights to Build a Better Workplace, found that 95% of hiring managers want employees to come to them with an issue before looking for jobs elsewhere, however only 52% of employees feel comfortable enough to do this.  

Its imperative for you as a manager to ensure you are having regular contact with your employees frequent face time means staff will feel comfortable approaching you if they do have concerns before it becomes a real issue. Alternatively, you can create a safe environment for raising issues by assigning a mentor for your employees from within the business as a more neutral contact. 

Reasons for leaving

According to the whitepaper results, no longer feeling challenged is the number one reason that employees resign. While the results did suggest that a pay rise might entice some employees to accept a counter offer and stay, it will not lead to long-term retention.  It is important to find out the real drivers of the employees decision to move on, otherwise the employee will be looking again to leave in a few months time as the real reasons for looking in the first instance have not been addressed.   

Be prepared

Ensure that you have an exit process in place that is documented and followed. Regardless of whether both parties agree that it is best to part ways, it is important that once a professional has resigned, that the exit process is managed carefully and professionally. Candidates do return to previous employers because they have had a positive experience from start to finish. Employees may return after testing whether the grass is greener, having gained experience in another industry or because they have taken a break to try out another interest and are then ready to return.  A negative experience as an employee can easily be discussed amongst friends and will shed negative light on the business. 

Use the feedback

When you hear feedback from a departing employee, take this information to make improvements to the business. Even if you disagree with certain insights, there may be issues or practices that are having an impact on staff that you are not aware of.