I would love to hear a podcast on exit interviews; what should be asked, who should ask it, what to do with the information you get. I am sure you will think of many more things to discuss as well.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi J

Although I am not 100% certain, I think I recall M&M stating in a podcast that they were not a big fan of exit interviews. It might have been part of the "how to resign" series of casts.


wendii's picture
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I thought that too when I saw the title of the post, I'm sure M&M don't think much of them.

However, I'm also sure that like 360's they could be valuable in the right enviroment with the right questions and if someone actually did something about them. The problem is, in most cases, we know nothing will be done, in which case why say something bad and jeopordise our references.

Which is kind of sad.


rthibode's picture

I remember M&M saying they don't recommend that exiting employees genuinely participate because they can't trust that their comments will be kept confidential. I don't recall M&M saying whether or not these interviews are valuable from the organization's perspective. I'd guess not. I've heard the same in a research class on organizational behaviour.

jhack's picture

Check out the 30:40 point (30 minutes, 40 seconds into) the "How to Resign Part 3" Podcast for M&M discussing exit interviews.


nagesh's picture

We can question the efficacy of exit interviews.

Exit-interviewers often lack training in asking the right questions and interpreting the answers prudently. Hence, they (typically people from HR) and the line managers try to guess reasons for an employee's departure. The result: the process of exit interviews and follow-up tends to be cursory in nature.

Further, departing employees often hesitate to give honest feedback: they may want to maintain good relationships for job-references or possible return in the future. They tend to inflate their benefits and 'greenery' at the new workplace.

Two main scenarios are evident:

(1) Situations where an employee's exit was expected due to previously-expressed dissatisfaction over one or more aspects of the work (benefits, opportunities, etc.) or perhaps due to personal reasons (relocation due to family, going back to school, etc.) Here, exit interviews may be futile.

(2) Situations where a manager or the organisation did not see the exit coming. These situations usually need further analysis, especially if the employee in question was considered a high-performance, high-potential employee. Here, exit interviews can be very meaningful if skilfully conducted. A follow-up conversation within the organisation can focus on tracing any hints of the move, evaluating the risk of losing other employees with identical credentials, brainstorming on new initiatives to retain key-employees or to differentiate the workplace (employees tend to move to competitors,) and so on.

Hence, a MT podcast on the broader topic of employee departures and how to follow-up can be very educating.

bflynn's picture

[quote="wendii"]However, I'm also sure that like 360's they could be valuable in the right enviroment [/quote]

I'm afraid that I can't think of any environment where 360s have been effective or valuable. I've seen them tried about six times and the doubt of true anonymity was never solved. Therefore, employees gave less than candid feedback. In one case, 360s had a negative impact because the lack of candid feedback spilled over into a lack of candor in other areas.

Similarly, I can't think of any envionment where exit interviews are effective. They might go well, there might be good things said. But the person leaving the organization has zero influence with line managers. No matter how well organized and successful the interview is, it is utterly ineffective as a means of change for the organization. I can think of not a single change that has come about because of an exit interview.


ssf_sara's picture

Exit interviews are standard at my company so at some point I will probably need to know how to handle this. Of course, if I ever choose to resign, I'll relisten to the "How to resign" series way before I tell my boss.

Mark's picture
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Yes, yes, we have one. From both sides of the table.

We dislike them intensely, but Horstman's 9th law suggests our feelings don't matter very much, because they do exist.



ccleveland's picture

Maybe I missed from a podcast or elsewhere...

Horstman's [u]9th[/u] Law?


Mark's picture
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You didn't miss anything. It takes a while for a concept to become one of my laws. I usually know them for a year before I release them.

Yep, there's a ninth one.

Soon, soon. :wink: