10 Reasons for an Employee Exit Interview (with Purpose)

I called a friend the other day and asked him out to lunch.

While that may not seem unusual, consider that this friend had worked for our company up until that week and was terminated for non-performance.  Now are you interested?

I told him that my offer to buy his lunch had two main purposes.  First, I wanted to take the opportunity to learn from him whether there was anything he thought we could do better as a company.  He is also a Christian and could give me insight about that aspect of our company.  While I think I have a good feel for what happens from day to day in my business, I always hear something in an exit interview that surprises me.  If I am open to it, I can always learn something from an ex-employee.

My second purpose was to take the opportunity, with his permission, to offer advice to him.  I had observed him for close to a year and I felt I had a perspective that could help him.  If I am truly in this business for an eternal impact, why would I not intentionally mentor another Christian when I have the chance?  I felt we had a good enough relationship that he would give me that chance.

I learned about a couple of things that we could improve on immediately.

We had a great lunch and it went just as I expected.  He gave me some honest and thoughtful feedback.  As always, I learned about a couple of things that we could improve on immediately.  Also, as I expected, he was open to my feedback on his performance and future work opportunities.  With our company, he was not in a job that fit his strengths.  We discussed another job he is already considering as well as some he has not considered, based on my assessment of his strengths.  All in all, we both profited from the meeting.

Typical Reasons to Conduct an Exit Interview…

    1. Gain a new perspective about your own business (or department, team, etc.).
    2. Learn what you are doing well…or not so well.
    3. Confirm what you may already know (but have not verified) to be true.
    4. Uncover real reason for leaving company (if voluntary termination)
    5. Make peace with an ex-employee

Additional Reasons from a Christian Perspective…

    1. Gather frank accountability feedback on your witness
    2. Give them frank accountability feedback on their witness (if they are a believer)
    3. Offer advice, mentoring for their future.
    4. If applicable, recommend resources for help (substance abuse, financial distress, etc.).
    5. If appropriate (your witness is intact and ex-employee is non-believer), share the Gospel!

What are your thoughts on this list?

Are there any reasons you would add or remove?

Does your company execute exit interviews?  If not, should you?

If so, do you have a success story to share?

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