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No matter how wonderful your company is, it’s inevitable that at one point or another, an employee will quit or need to be fired. While this can be unfortunate—or fabulous, depending on the person—losing an employee can be a learning experience. The secret to turning this loss into a benefit lies in the exit interview. It gives you an inexpensive and valuable opportunity to collect data about your company.
Exit interviews need to be structured if you hope to maximize their usefulness. The first part of the interviews should be operational: Here you discuss benefits, passwords, company property, etc.
The second part addresses their reasons for departure. Even though they are leaving and are no longer employees, you should ask not only why they are leaving, but also solicit any suggestions they may have for improving the company or their specific department.
There also needs to be some level of documentation so that you can correlate the data and notice any trends—or departments— that might need restructuring.
So next time an employee leaves, focus on the positive. View the exit interview as an opportunity to learn more about your company and any of its shortcomings. You’ll find out important information that will help your company both to attract and retain people in the future.
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