Let’s talk exit interviews. Then once we have covered that, we want to invite you to a new concept – stay interviews.

But first, let’s discuss the former.

When employees decide to move on from your business, it has the potential to have a negative impact on your business.

It can leave you short-staffed.

They may be disgruntled.

They may influence other staff members.

There is any number of negative scenarios that could play out.

However, if you have cultivated a positive staff culture, then there is every possibility that a staff resignation can turn into a positive one.

By the way of an exit interview.

The upside of exit interviews

When done correctly, exit interviews can give you great insight into your business.

Your employees are on the front line. They see the comings and goings of the business on a daily basis. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Whilst under your employment, they may be hesitant to provide such feedback to you.

However, once handing in their resignation, you can use the opportunity as a learning experience.

Let’s start with the who, why, what and when.

Exit Interviews – the Who

Your exit interview should include the resigning employee, the Manager/Owner or HR Manager and perhaps one other member of management to take notes.

It is advised to avoid having the employee’s direct supervisor as part of the process, as often the employee may be unwilling or uncomfortable sharing their feedback – especially if there were issues with their direct management.

Exit Interviews – the Why

Conducting an exit interview can give you honest feedback about your business.

They can cover topics such as working conditions, productivity, management, supervision and pay.

Look for patterns within the interviews.

If staff continue to mention the same reasons for leaving, then there is a deeper issue you need to resolve.

Exit Interviews – the What

Now we get to the nitty gritty of the interview.

Advise the employee why you are conducting an exit interview, where and with whom.

Compile your list of questions prior to the interview.

Start off with the basics, “Why are you leaving?”

The answer to this question will generally be one of two things.

  1. A new job
  2. Personal reasons

Depending on their response, this can trigger a series of the following questions.

A new job – example follow-up questions

“What appeals about your new job?”

“When did you start looking?”

‘Was there a reason you started looking?”

“What influenced you to take a new position?”

“Did you not feel there was room for growth here?”

Personal reasons – example follow-up questions

“Is there anything we can do to accommodate you?”

“Did we provide what you needed to do your job?”

“Was there more we could do to assist you?”

“Are flexible working conditions appealing to you to stay?”

Following on from their departure chat, you can then glean some information about the overall practice culture.

General feedback questions

“What do you think about our practice culture?”

“Are there things we can do to improve?”

“Were there things that could have made you stay on?”

“Were you happy with your management team?”

“Did you feel included/respected/valued member of the team?”

“Would you consider returning if the opportunity arose in the future?”

Exit Interviews – the When

The best time to conduct the interviews is a few days prior to their formal departure.

Too early you may not receive honest feedback as they are still employed for a period of time.

Too late and they may have mentally moved on and not be too fussed with providing honest feedback.

Flip the coin to ‘Stay Interviews’

We often interview departing employees once they have given in their resignation.

So why don’t we interview them while they are still with us?

You might think, “Sure, but I chat with my employees all the time!”

But a stay interview is different to the day-to-day banter between Manager/Owner and employee.

We recommend a more formal interview, that mimics an exit interview – yet you are working to retain the employee. To find out current, honest feedback from them to improve their overall employee experience.

Sure, not all employees will be 100% honest or find the prospect daunting. Yet they will appreciate the effort you are making to improve the quality of their working life.

After all, a boss that cares is a boss worth working for.

If you’d like to chat to us about your veterinary clinic operations and team, give our team a call. We are experts in assisting veterinarians purchase, sell and manage their clinics across Australia.