How To Improve Exit Interview Participation Rates

Hiring and firing of workers during the Depression was one sided. Only the hiring agency has the rights and the workers none. You can just imagine how the plight of workers was at that time. Over the years, as societies learned from psychologists and lawyers and laws that have been enacted, plus keen competition many companies have learned to value and respect "Exit Interviews" of employees in all levels of the management hierarchy. Today it is common practice that before an employee is let go for reasons of retrenchment and the like, the human resource department conducts what is called an "Exit Interview" 

Sometimes the disadvantage is that a lot of time is needed to come up with enough data from these exit interviews. A small amount of data would not really be of value, thus they start early, so that in time, a lot of data would have been gathered and processed. You get a lot of data to work on if your participation rate in exit interview is raised. Based on records, about 30% to 35% of those requested to participate on exit interviews respond to them and complete them. The effective ones of course are those that are conducted verbally and not the paper and pencil survey types.  

When the firm is good in all aspects of labor and employee relations and that the exit interview becomes a positive factor respected by all employees, the practice would be reliable. It is not really difficult to increase the response rates. Considered as a good target is a participation rate of up to 65%., which may be done either through written statements of employees during their exit interviews, or by telephone interviews and those that are conducted online. 

Here is how one can measure the response rate in an exit interview. First determine the number of those you requested for an interview, and the number of  those who accomplished the interview. You then divide the number of employees who responded and accomplished the survey or interview over that of the total number of those you requested to attend the interview. Say, you asked 300 people, to participate in an exit interview, then only 125 responded, your get a participation rate of 125 divided by 300, which is equal to 41.6%. 

It is very critical to have guides and procedures in place to track down this type of participation, especially when you plan to start a project for improvement that you will carry out regularly. In large companies they track their participation rates entirely separate for large divisions, sometimes the geographic regions and the different subsidiaries under the organization. Small companies may also benefit from a good tracking mechanism. 

Finally, one can state that exit interviews are excellent tools for learning about an organization and its strengths and weaknesses. It is also a gauge on high turnover of employees, which actually wastes money and resources invested by the firm in the employment process of the firm. These days, interviews serve management functions well especially when competition is keen and the economic climate is demanding. However, it is imperative that the ones performing this service usually a person in human resources department must be well trained and mature in their interviews and fact finding.


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