The importance of conducting effective exit interviews


We recently blogged about useful strategies to maximise employee retention in face of “The Great Resignation”. Since the start of the pandemic, many companies have been disrupted by a sudden increase in employees leaving the business. If there are lessons to be learned over the past two years, it’s that employees desire greater connection with their peers and leaders both at a social and interpersonal level; as well as a sense of purpose, community and value within the workplace. While remuneration and benefits are also important, they are nowadays becoming a cost of entry, rather than a tool to attract talent to an organisation. 

As leaders, it is crucial to try and understand why employees are leaving your business, and what they are gravitating towards in order to learn from this and to help prevent further employee attrition. 

This is where the exit interview plays a crucial role. 

Here are some suggestions on areas that are important to probe when conducting exit interviews. As leaders and managers, it’s important to be open and willing to receive all types of feedback, which in itself can be an uncomfortable experience. 

  • Do you have leaders who inspire and motivate? 
  • Do you have a strong and positive company culture, where employees feel valued and engaged in the business?  
  • Can you provide employees with an exciting career path? Are there sufficient training and development opportunities for employees to continue to develop their skills and capabilities?
  • What did employees like and dislike about their jobs?
  • Does your business foster a sense of inclusion and community? This area is becoming much more important as businesses embrace a hybrid workplace.
  • Do your managers have the right skills to lead and develop their teams?
  • Is your remuneration, reward and recognition aligned with employee priorities?

The best insights will be gained when exiting employees feel safe to be totally candid and honest about their reasons for leaving. Sometimes, having an external party conduct the exit interviews can help enable greater candour. As an employer, you can’t fix what you don’t understand. Once leaders have a good understanding of why their employees are quitting, they can begin to act thoughtfully and purposefully to elevate the overall employee experience, and encourage retention rather than resignation.

Here’s to 2022 getting us to a more united and cohesive environment!

Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing Or Kicking Goals – Take control of your people and their performance”. It is a practical response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at

Disclaimer: The contents do not constitute legal advice and does not cater for individual circumstances.   The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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