How we get things done: Retention and Exit Interviews

Unfortunately, the reality is that employers (and more specifically, HR professionals) are far too busy finding ways of attracting employees. They have little time to carry out this important retention exercise. 

I have written in the past on why retention (or stay) and exit interviews are important in today’s business. Some will argue that exit interviews can be redundant especially once the employee has handed in his/her resignation. However, they are both tools that help in receiving feedback from current and ex-employees. It gives employers the opportunity to understand why people stay, and why people leave. Employers can listen to employees’ experiences and receive valuable insight on ways employees feel the company can improve. 

This is where SurgeAdvisory can help you. We have years of experience in carrying out this exercise to a number of our clients. Clients range from logistics and transport companies to accountancy and audit firms and law firms. 

How do we do this?

While we adapt to every client’s situation and request, the below is how we typically run such exercises.

Understand the nature of employment

We sit with the client to understand better what challenges they are facing. This is in terms of employee attraction, engagement and retention. It is not our intention to start a conversation with an employee on a biased note. However, it is important to understand the nature of employment within the company. We mutually agree on a number of questions we would like to ask the employees. Nevertheless, we aim to keep the conversation as fluid as possible by giving room to both parties to delve into other areas. 

Have a chat with the employees

One-to-one meetings or phone are two methods used to carry out the retention or exit interviews. On some occasions, we have resorted to an online questionnaire (not an employee engagement survey). What is important is that we listen to the employee in his/her most comfortable environment. The employee needs to build trust in us and in whoever is having a chat with him/her. This trust is only built by explaining thoroughly what we aim to get out of the chat and that it’s done at his/her convenience. At times, the interviews are held at coffee shops after office hours. This gives us the opportunity to get to know the employee in an informal and relaxed environment. Ultimately it is held wherever and whenever is easiest and most comfortable for the employee. There were also times when the employer requested that all feedback remains anonymous.

Exit interviews are generally held a month after the employee has left the company. We have also carried out such meetings with employees who left a company within the last two years. The latter gave us some very interesting responses. This is because they had the time to experience other job opportunities. This gave us feedback and suggestions which an employee who has just left would not be able to give. 

Retention interviews are most of the time held at random. We try to hold a retention meeting with employees at least once to twice a year (depending on the size of the company). Employees could have been recent recruits or also employees with years of experience within the company. Sometimes, the latest recruit can also give you very valuable feedback. 

Give feedback

Feedback to the client is given in two ways: a meeting and a report. The report is mostly used as the feedback would need to be reported at board or senior management level. We have also had the opportunity of presenting these reports to the Board of Directors and discussing our findings to them. 

The benefits

The benefits of using independent persons to carry out such interviews is not only time saving and an extra pair of hands, but also helps you get a fresh and independent perspective on your people.

Contact us on [email protected] to discuss how we can help you.