Sustainable Agriculture Institute
Exit Interview Policy
Policy brief & purpose
Our employee exit interview policy presents our method of gathering useful information about our company from employees who resign. When employees leave our company, they may feel more comfortable sharing experiences they had while working for us.
Specifically, we want to discover:
- Why an employee is leaving.
- What an employee liked or disliked about our company.
- Whether official job descriptions reflect our employees’ actual work.
- What we can improve to make our workplace more efficient and pleasant.
This employee exit interview policy refers to employees who leave our company voluntarily.
What is an exit interview?
Exit interviews are discussions with employees who resign aimed at exploring their reasons for leaving our company to discover areas we can improve in.
In-person interviews help us gather more granular insight. We may use questionnaires or phone interviews if employees find those more convenient.
HR is responsible for organizing and conducting exit interviews. Occasionally, we may hire external consultants or assign interviews to supervisors of an employee’s immediate supervisor. Immediate supervisors will not participate in these interviews.
Exit interviews are voluntary
There won’t be any repercussions for employees who refuse to participate (e.g. references and payouts won’t be affected.) HR professionals are responsible for informing employees that their participation is greatly appreciated but optional.
How do you conduct exit interviews?
As a general rule, these discussions should focus on gathering information from employees and understanding their perspectives.
People who conduct exit interviews shouldn’t:
- Negotiate to persuade an employee to stay
- Get defensive when employees share negative experiences
- Focus only on getting negative feedback
Interviews may be held in-person, over the phone, or through a video platform. The length of each interview may vary, but it should generally last approximately 60 minutes.
HR should close interviews on a positive note, thanking employees for their time and feedback.
Sample exit interview questions
Exit interview questions may vary depending on each employee’s seniority and role.
Here are some sample questions for all roles:
- Please describe your general feelings about working here. If possible, please tell us what prompted your resignation.
- What did you enjoy most about working here?
- What would you change about our workplace?
- How would you rate the availability of guidance and training opportunities here?
- Do you feel you were recognized for your work?
- Were there obstacles that prevented you from doing your job efficiently? If so, what were they?
HR should use those basic questions in all exit interviews to consolidate results more easily. After employees answer these baseline exit interview questions, HR may encourage an unstructured talk for employees to air whatever they’d like.
Serious issues that may be uncovered during exit interviews
If interviews unearth serious incidents (e.g. harassment, discrimination, embezzlement), HR should act immediately and according to company policy. They should inform employees that they may have to disclose some of their feedback to legal authorities.
Everything discussed during exit interviews must be kept confidential. HR should assure exiting employees that interview records are confidential. HR should tell employees how they’ll present results to management (e.g. in aggregate form or anonymous feedback.)
Once an employee submits a notice of resignation, HR may reach out to them to ask for an exit interview, preferably in writing. Employees may choose their interview format or decline to participate.
Ideally, interviews should take place before employees’ final week of work. HR should avoid scheduling interviews for an employee’s last day unless there’s no other opportunity. Alternatively, HR may schedule interviews within [a month] after employees leave.
HR is responsible for analyzing data from exit interviews and sharing insights and recommendations with senior management. They may report on results annually, quarterly, or more frequently if needed (e.g. if a large number of employees leave within a certain period.)
Follow up survey
Six months after an employee’s initial exit interview, we may follow up with an exit survey. This practice can help us confirm employees’ initial reasons for leaving, or gain feedback they may have been reluctant to share before.
HR should inform employees that they might receive an email survey before sending it.