Exit Interviews - To Have or Have Not

red-exit-sign HR folks still question whether they should or shouldn't conduct an exit interview when someone leaves their organization.  Proponents cite the information they gain from these exchanges help them identify and begin to address 'opportunity areas' in the organization, hopefully, increasing employee retention.  Detractors say that exiting employees don't wish to burn bridges, and are not truthful as to the real (or all of the) reason(s) they are leaving, so it's difficult to 'fix' the situation.

Whom should we believe? 

Some organizations 'push' an electronic exit interview questionnaire to the exiting employee.  The thinking here is that employees may be more inclined to answer the questions honestly, as there is no human exchange.  It also helps to increase the consistency of the information asked, retrieved, and analyzed.  Some organizations take it a step further, and attempt to telephone employees six months after they have left, hoping to obtain even more honest feedback.  Some do both of these or some variation(s) thereof.

Detractors of these approaches state that employees will still be 'guarded' with their answers, again, not wishing to burn any bridges, particularly in our current challenging economy.  Employees can 'blow off' answering an electronic exit questionnaire, perhaps more than they could an invitation to a 'in person' exit interview before they leave.  It's also difficult to get former employees to be available to take or return phone calls once they have left the organization.

What do you think?  Is it worth it?

Good luck.

The HRmeister