A friend of mine recently left his job at a major academic institution where he worked his way up from the ground floor into a middle management position before leaving for the upper ranks at a competitor’s on the west coast. As a courtesy to the organization in which he had given so much, and so much given to him, he approached his superior's administrative assistant and asked if there was a formal “exit interview” that he was to partake in prior to his final day at the end of the week.
“Usually only people that want to complain ask for exit interviews,” the administrative assistant explained, “did you still want to speak with him?”
“ummm, well, no, not anymore,” my friend replied.
Wouldn’t an exit interview be the perfect opportunity to gain feedback into your organization’s weaknesses, customer service, and operating procedures?
Sure the employee may be salty that they are leaving, but what chance for feedback do you have otherwise once they’ve walked out the door?
You should search out that employee and simply ask, “what can we do better?” This is the only time they won’t be afraid to tell you exactly how it is. You can sift through the salt and substance after, but once they’re gone, they’re gone, and hence so is the opportunity for your organization to improve.
Art Horne is the Coordinator of Care and Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Men’s Basketball Team at Northeastern University, Boston MA. He can be reached at email@example.com.