The exit interview is a dying breed at a time when so many questions are being asked about how to retain the best talent, how to increase diversity at all levels in organisations and how to engage the younger generations just entering the job market with a different set of expectations and approaches.
So much of the people management in organisations is now being delivered electronically which takes out a crucial opportunity to really understand what makes people stay in your organisation – and why do they leave.
When this is applied to women, it is particularly important, as during their tenure many women fear calling out any potential discriminatory practices or behaviours for fear of staining their reputation in their industry. This leads organisations down a slippery path – your women leave the organisation and you may never find out why, yet you can almost guarantee that those reasons will come out eventually and if they contain any kind of misogyny or sexism, the reputation of your organisation can get tarnished before you even know it is happening.
The power of movements such as #TimesUp originate from women’s frustration at not having a supportive platform to communicate the behaviour and treatment that they have been exposed to. When given that opportunity, it is clear that there are deep seated and embedded discriminatory practices that go unchallenged and these only come to light by providing a safe supportive environment where women feel that what they say will be used positively and most critically – acted upon.
If you are leaving an organisation, leaving the industry entirely, or maybe stopping any economic activity, it is still vital that you feel heard about your experiences there, and that may not happen through the standard leaver processes followed by so many businesses.
If your business no longer uses exit interviews, maybe believing that there was nothing of value in them, then your process wasn’t asking the right questions, or interpreting the answers correctly. Instead there is a missed opportunity in the lack of analysis of valuable data that may contain the secret to attracting and retaining a talented pool of women critical to your business’ future success.
Stay engaged until the very last minute with each employee and learn how to get better at making them not want to leave.
[Words: Lee Lam, Lee Lam Consulting]