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Stay, just a little bit longer (and take our exit interview)

Posted By Christine Shupe, Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The exit interview is a valuable tool both diagnostically and strategically. Diagnostically, it can reveal important information about the factors that influence an employee’s decision to move on. Strategically, the information can be used to actions to improve the work environment.


In November, the VHMA surveyed practice managers to determine whether employers, managers and supervisors survey employees when they leave their jobs. Of the 275 individuals who responded to the Insider’s Insight survey, 63% said that they conduct exit interviews and 37% revealed that they do not.


Seventy-seven percent of those who interview departing employees report that they survey all employees, regardless of tenure or position. Twelve percent survey long-term employees, although respondents did not define “long-term.” Ten percent selected the “other” response and identified the conditions under which they conduct an exit interview, including: when employees agree to be interviewed, when employees leave voluntarily and  when interested in gaining insights from employees whose opinions are valued. Several respondents added that they only conduct the interview if there is time to fit it in.


Face-to-face interviews are the most common way to conduct the exit interview (91%), however, 9% administer electronic surveys and 5% prefer teleconferences. Among the 13% who reported they rely on a technique not listed in the Insider’s Insight survey, the majority say they circulate a hard copy of a survey that former employees can complete and return when convenient.


Ninety two percent report that they use the data obtained in the exit interview to make changes in the practice. Five percent report that the information is not used and 3% do not know what becomes of the data obtained in the interview.


Of those who use the information, 67% say that they use it to develop out-of-the-box ways to improve the practice. Eight percent say the data is helpful in evaluating staff compensation. Of the 22% who selected “other,” approximately half (10%) report that the information is used to make changes in all of the areas identified in the response categories (compensation, benefits, discounts and out-of-the-box solutions).


In general, exit interview data is available to those in upper management and may be shared among owners, managers and supervisors--- the employees most likely to influence practice policies.


As for the reasons why employees leave, of those who conduct exit interviews, the top three reasons cited are as follows: to pursue another career (45%), for personal or family reasons (29%) and to land a higher paying job (29%). Among those who do not conduct exit interviews, the top three responses are similar: to pursue another career (34%), to land a more lucrative job (27%) and for personal issues (20%).


The most significant difference between those who do and those who do not conduct exit interviews, is that those who do not schedule interviews are more likely to report that employees leave because they do not fit with the practice.


When it’s time for staff to move on, before saying farewell, be sure to make time for an exit interview. The practice may gain important information about how it can improve and employees will leave feeling good about their service.


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