When Things Don’t Add Up

We’ve often heard that one of the top reasons that employees leave a company is due to bad bosses. Yet when employees are asked during an exit interview their reason for leaving a job, the standard answer is “a better opportunity” or something similar to that.¬†Seems like things just don’t add up.

If bad bosses are driving good employees out of your company, chances are you will not hear about it during an employee exit interview. Employees have been taught to not burn bridges. Once they have announced their departure, there is no benefit in saying something that might reflect poorly on them. They also realize that the exit interview is the last impression they will leave with the company so why not make it positive.

If that’s the case, why even bother doing an employee exit interview? My curiosity got the best of me so I surfed the internet for hours studying different perspectives on this topic. In addition to finding a gazillion websites that told employees stuff they should never say at an employee exit interview, my research landed me on the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) website where I found a list of 22 suggested exit interview questions. I provided a few of them below. After reading the full list, I thought – Hey these are great questions to ask current employees. Why wait until they leave? It’s too stinkin’ late then.

The other thought that crossed my mind is why wouldn’t you already know the answers to these questions? Isn’t your boss supposed to be interested in this kind of stuff and shouldn’t they be discussing the answers to these questions as part of the boss-employee relationship? Isn’t that what good bosses do?

Putting 2 and 2 together led me to the conclusion that if you have to do an employee exit interview to answer these types of questions, you may have found the answer as to why your employee is leaving – bad boss. Looks like we made full circle on this one.

Sample of SHRM Exit Interview Questions (for full list of question click here )

  1. Were you given training to perform the job? How would you assess the quality of that training? What are some of the areas for improvement?
  2. Describe the workplace environment.
  3. Were there any special problem areas?
  4. What improvements can you suggest to the organization, to your division/department or to your job (to make it easier, more challenging and more interesting)??
  5. What do you like most about working here?
  6. What do you like the least about working here?
  7. What are your general feelings about working for this company?

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