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Interviews are necessary, even when leaving a job

Posted June. 30, 2023 07:58,   

Updated June. 30, 2023 07:58


We often come across stories of individuals leaving their jobs for various reasons. Whether it's due to the challenges of balancing work and childcare, personal health issues, or a desire to pursue a different career path, there are countless narratives out there. However, what's surprising is the scarcity of accounts describing a clean and satisfying exit process, or instances where the departure actually made them like the company more.

While we acknowledge that changing jobs has become commonplace and the concept of lifelong employment has disappeared, many individuals still exhibit inflexibility regarding job transitions. It's not uncommon to come across anecdotes of people being labeled as traitors for expressing a desire to leave or being subjected to curses with remarks like 'Let’s see how well it goes.' Regardless of the time spent working together, it is short-sighted to assume that you will never cross paths again. This is not due to the small size of Korean society; rather, it is because organizations miss out on valuable opportunities to learn and grow from the experiences of departing employees.

In today's knowledge economy, talented employees are crucial for an organization's success. Companies should strive to recruit, nurture, and retain employees to unleash their full potential. Specifically, they should conduct thorough interviews with departing employees and utilize the findings to enhance the organization's overall competitiveness.

Exit interviews can bring several benefits. They provide valuable feedback on areas requiring refinement and strengthening, both in operations and organizational culture. If departing employees had difficulties with their bosses or coworkers, these interviews offer an opportunity to identify and address such issues. Additionally, you can gain insights into the leadership styles of managers. By treating departing employees with respect and demonstrating appreciation, they can become strong advocates for your company, leaving a positive impression on them and your remaining staff.

If arranging a face-to-face meeting is not feasible, consider taking a cue from Netflix's postmortem email initiative. Netflix encourages departing employees to compose an email to their coworkers, sharing the reasons behind their departure, the lessons they've learned from their time at the company, the areas they believe the company can improve upon, and their plans. While it doesn't necessarily have to be a complete disclosure, the company makes efforts to foster an environment where these emails can be as honest as possible through systems and corporate culture.

Indeed, it is not always easy for an employee to be completely honest when leaving a company, especially when it involves workplace bullying by their boss. Organizations should employ various tools to foster more meaningful conversations. Research indicates that individuals are more likely to be candid when speaking to someone who holds a position one level above their immediate supervisor rather than directly to their boss. The mere two degrees of separation can help alleviate an employee's defensiveness. Studies have also revealed that individuals are more inclined to be truthful when discussing their experiences one month or more after leaving a job, as opposed to immediately before or after their departure. While face-to-face interviews are often preferred, some researchers argue that a phone call may be more effective. The most crucial aspect, however, is ensuring that the data obtained from exit interviews are collected, analyzed, and organized in a manner that genuinely impacts the organization's operations. Consider which type of exit interview is most suitable for your organization.