Home' OsteoLife : OsteoLife Autumn 2015 Contents 18 Osteopathy Australia
mployee resignations are not something that can be taken
lightly. When an employee leaves they take with them skills and
experience that may be vital to the success of the business. The
resources and financial outlay required to find a new employee
can be substantial, not to mention the cost of lost productivity
while searching for a suitable replacement. Prevention is better than cure,
however it may be too late to prevent a good employee from leaving once
they have given their resignation.
This is where an exit interview comes into play. A well-conducted
exit interview may give you the information you need to make
changes in your workplace that will avoid further losses of valuable
employees. There is, however, some controversy surrounding the
effectiveness of interviews, which stems from uncertainty around
when to conduct the interview.
Scheduling the interview
Avoid conducting the interview within an employee’s notice period, as
employees may be reluctant to provide accurate information for fear of
causing further ruptures in the remainder of their
employment. Furthermore, there is no guarantee
of being able to change the employee's mind if
this is the intention of scheduling the interview
early. There are also difficulties associated
with scheduling the interview following their
departure, as there’s every chance the employee
will decline the invitation to take part. Problems
aside, prevention is better than cure and an exit
interview is better than none at all.
conducting an interview
An exit interview can be conducted in two
ways, face-to-face or through a questionnaire,
which can be followed up with an interview
where necessary. There are several general
guidelines that should be considered when
conducting a face-to-face interview. A neutral
third-party person, such as an HR team member,
should conduct the interview. This creates a
non-confrontational environment that will elicit
more honest responses. The interviewer can
remain neutral by not volunteering any opinions
about the employee’s responses and recording
their responses unadulterated. The interviewer
should also state from the beginning of the
interview how the information is to be used
in the future, which again will influence how
truthfully the employee responds.
Some employees may be reluctant to
divulge information if they feel that it will
harm (intentionally or unintentionally) other co-workers. The perceived
consequence being that it may damage their chances of getting a good
reference from the employer in the future. Lastly, the interview should be
hosted in a strictly private location.
There are a number of key questions that need to be asked to ensure
the interview yields meaningful results:
• What are all of the reasons for leaving and not just the ‘main’ reason?
• If taking a new job, what does the new job offer them that their
current job does not?
• What exactly did the employee’s role involve in detail? (The
employee’s role may be quite complex and some of their duties may
not be captured by existing position descriptions which will make it
harder to find a suitable replacement)
• Were the expectations of their role clear and realistic?
• Was the role financially and intrinsically rewarding?
• What were the likes/dislikes of the role?
• Were the working conditions, such as work hours, travel time,
work/life balance reasonable?
• Was the training development and support
sufficient to develop in the organisation and
meet the key expectations of the role?
• How were relations with direct
• How were relations with other colleagues?
• Do they believe the organisation was
consistent in complying with its core
values in its dealings with internal and
• What could have been done or changed
to prevent their resignation?
• Would they recommend the organisation
to others as an employer of choice and
This list is not exhaustive, but it does cover
enough ground to identify any potential red
flags within the organisation. Keep in mind
that having a list of questions in no way implies
that the interview is a tick-and-flick exercise.
The interviewer should in fact be asking
open-ended questions to gather as much
information as possible.
Questionnaires may be less confrontational
and allow the employee to give more
measured and anonymous responses.
However, they may be difficult to interpret
and there is no guarantee the questionnaire
will be returned. They should be regarded as
a back-up option if face-to-face interviews
are not possible.
When one door closes
Replacing staff is a costly and time-consuming exercise. By conducting exit interviews
with outgoing employees you can identify areas of improvement in your practice.
For more information about exit
interviews or other HR matters contact
the Osteopathy Australia HR Service on
1300 143 602, or email
Alternatively, access the HR online
resource library from
www.osteopathy.org.au under ‘HR
Plus’ after login to the member’s area.
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