Mary Nowell
Mary Nowell
Managing Director: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Exit Interviews

When it comes to why an employee has left your business is ‘ignorance bliss’ or should you want to know the reasons behind the decision? Well, as a legal recruiter I know that the biggest bar to growth is attracting and retaining staff. As a manager I know that the people in my team are my biggest asset; both of these factors make exit interviews essential in managing and growing your business.

So how is the best way to structure and deliver an exit interview to ensure that you get the best from the process?

Always remember that from an employer's perspective, the primary aim of the exit interview is to learn and explore the reasons for the person's departure, on the basis that honest feedback can be essential when making changes within an organisation that will ultimately lead to improvement. I think that the key to an exit interview is to put your outgoing employee at ease and ask a series of open questions designed to get him/her talking. Questions like “what caused you to start looking for a new position”, “what was your relationship with your manager like”, “what did you like and dislike about your position” and “how would you describe the work place culture” will allow you to build a picture of the drivers behind the move and a unique view on your business.

Don’t let insecurity or defensiveness get in the way of an opportunity to learn. At BCL Legal each year we conduct “The Sunday Times Best Companies to work for” survey and as a manager I am critiqued by all those who report into me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always (I never) enjoy the scrutiny but the survey gives me vital information about how i'm perceived, what I can do better and how engaged my team really is. It can be uncomfortable but it is necessary.

So my advice is confront any issue straight on and have a thorough exit interview with all departing staff. The reality is that in the war for talent we need to retain good people and undoubtedly one of the best ways to get honest feedback is to ask employees who no longer rely on you for their monthly salary. Exit interviews can reveal powerful insights that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

For more information contact Mary Nowell at BCL Legal.

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