Exit interviews have been a quintessential part of the HR function for decades; not only do they give the employee a chance to truly state how their time at the company has been, how the company has dealt with their wellness and how effective their boss was, it’s also a chance for the business to understand the main reasons for staff turnover and build a true picture of their staff.
However, the information shared often very much depends on the terms in which the employee is leaving; for example, if they’re simply moving onto another more senior role in another company, there’s a good chance the information they give will be balanced, fair and honest. Yet, if an employee is leaving due to redundancy or because they feel that they’ve been poorly treated in the company, their answers will be dramatically swayed by their own personal circumstance – regardless if what they’re saying is true.
Yet when the dust settles and the heat of the moment is over, many workers may well regret their outbursts, or simply wish they hadn’t shared so much personal information, which begs the question, what happens to the data given so willingly by employees? What does HR actually do with the information they take?
“Though as an employee you may feel disposable, that’s far from the truth,” Carolina King, Chief People Officer at Lucas Group told CNBC recently. “When someone decides to move on from a position, the exit interview is the company’s chance to find out what went wrong, so they can learn from them and avoid losing other employees for similar reasons in the future,” she adds.
King adds that retention is a massive priority for Lucas Group, and all exit interview data is safely stored, in accordance with GDPR, and compiled to create insights into why people choose to move on. Far from being spread around similar employers or partners, data is strictly kept under lock and key and used only to form greater pictures of their management and employee wellness practices.
Traci Wilk, Senior Vice President at The Learning Experience, has a slightly different opinion, however. Wilk believes that employees that are rude or insulting in their exit interviews will be negatively impacted later in their career. She suggests that HR practitioners tell employees to postpone the interview until they’ve had time to calm down.
“This is likely not to be the final connection with your employer and your company’s leadership, so it’s an opportune time to ensure you’re leaving on a good note and not burning any bridges,” explains Wilk.
“Even if you’re leaving an unpleasant work situation, speaking too harshly could have a long-term impact,” she told CNBC.