As the HR Manager for Calibre Engineering, I am responsible for performing exit interviews with all staff who journey on from Calibre. Upon performing a literature search on employee exit interviews, I found resources for questions, dos and don’ts, forms/paperwork for resignation, prevention of litigation, and benefits of exit interviews for the company itself. But, there was little to no literature about the needs of the employee with regard to emotional “closure”. In my experience as an HR Manager and prescriptive therapist, I find the emotional needs of the employee to be a vital piece of the exit interview process.
Thinking back on the exit interviews that I have done, I find a trend in the needs of the departing staff member. I have found that the emotional needs of the employee are to generally say “good-bye,” or to have some sense of closure. Personally, I accomplish this at the end of the interview by thanking the employee for all of his/her hard work for the organization/company. Often, I will even acknowledge specific projects or tasks that the staff member did during his/her employment. Then, as the employee is leaving the building or office, I always wish him/her “good luck on your life journey.” This gives the employee a sense of closure and allows them to leave with a positive impression of the company and the exit interview process.
Importantly, as each employee leaves my office, I find that I remember most clearly the closure process and little about the rest of the exit interview. I think this is because the “closure” portion is the most impactful part of the exit interview. Because of this, I would highly recommend offering the employee a sense of closure as s/he leaves the exit interview.
-Lauri A Murphy, MS, RXN, CNS, PMHN-BC