There is an interesting article in the April issue of Inc. magazine; 'Goodbye and good luck'. The article discusses an emerging fascination with exit interviews - "someone's leaving, lets find out why..."
First of all, why wait for someone to leave to find out what employees are thinking? Next, if you have a turnover problem and you’re considering spending money on an exit interview program, don’t you think that there is a larger problem to solve first?
To the first point, this is something I've written about in the past on several occasions. One of my favorites was the mailman post:
Why not talk WITH your employees regularly? How about a monthly or quarterly 1 on 1 where you ask them some of the questions contained in these exit interviews.
The article contains several great questions, some not so great. One example, the first question, is:
Now, I'm not naive here - some percentage of the employees wouldn't have a clue how to lead a large organization or chart its course. However, most employees have two things in common - one, they all want to be heard... that is just human nature. Second, I'd bet most employees have some ideas about how to improve some aspect of the business.
To the second point, if you have a turnover problem, perhaps you haven't created a culture where employees feel connected to something worthwhile. If it is just a job, and people aren't deriving anything other than financial compensation, you will have people who are going to seek greener grass. Two organizations that I like are Google and Will Vinton studios. Everyone is familiar with the 80/20 philosphy at Google, where employees get to work on there own stuff one day a week. At Will Vinton studios they have a program called The Walkabout (good article at Fast Company)
What do you think - are exit interviews worthwhile?