The moment when someone decides to leave a company is one of the most painful and critical in the employee journey map, not just for the employee and the company, but for the colleagues. This moment fits into the separation stage of the employee life cycle. This stage, the last one of the ELC, spans from the moment an employee becomes disengaged until his or her departure from the organization.

The impact of an exit in the team is similar to grief, and this goes through Elizabeth Kübler-Ross stages: 

  1. Shock “I can’t believe it!”: 
  2. Denial and isolation “You can’t leave”; 
  3. Anger “He/She is a traitor, we have done a lot for him/her and now is leaving…”; 
  4. Bargaining “Can I do something to make you stay?”; 
  5. Depression “What we are going to do with him/her? It is not going to be the same any more…”; 
  6. Testing. “Let’s look for someone” 
  7. Acceptance.

It is an emotionally difficult moment for the team because it implies a separation, a grief. We have been built on the foundations of people we meet, and in a sense our team is part of ourselves.

Taking this into account, the importance of an off boarding process and the conducting of a good exit interview is huge because it enables the defining of actions to avoid this painful situation and the loss of our people. An exit interview has similarities with the clinical interview but with a different result, because we are not running a psychological assessment.

An exit interview is a way for an HR professional to ask an employee questions, engage in dialogue to learn more about the employee and form their professional opinion about employee's reason of leaving.

The gold standard for structured clinical interviews is the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5, also known as SCID.  However, the best way to achieve the most precise outcome of an exit interview is the conversation. A semi-structured exit interview guide administered by an HR professional is best. Many of the questions concerning the reason of leaving are subjective (in comparison, for example, to the number on a blood test which may be used to diagnose a physical disorder). This standardised guide helps to make a largely subjective diagnosis more objective. But each person is different meaning each interview is different.

The most relevant questions in an exit interview are: Who are you? What was the context? What happened? But, most people focus the interview on the question of why are you leaving? This is a mistake. The HR professional has to figure out the answer to this question as a psychologist figures out the diagnosis of the patient through a clinical interview. A precise diagnosis is helpful in determining the most effective programmes to avoid more leavers.

We believe that by strengthening our culture we can build a better company. We have implemented an outstanding off-boarding programme to organisational retention programmes to reduce employee turnover and increase our employee satisfaction by generating positive emotions and experiences. A positive approach to reinforce gratefulness, recognition, trust and closeness.

Our off boarding programme “See you soon” includes:

  • Exit interview. We use SCID methodology as a foundation to identify the reasons behind leaving, however, our exit interviews involve a conversation or narrative between the HR professional and the leaver instead of a list of standardised questions.
  • An anonymous online questionnaire to complement and contrast what our leavers said in their exit interviews.
  • A recognition present. It is important to make feel our people special until the end, to recognise them and to build an emotional connection with the leaver.

A leaver today could be an employee again or a client tomorrow. The way you manage this separation will have an impact in your future relations with them. Our leavers could be our best ambassadors.  What do you prefer: to say, goodbye or see you soon?