The reality is that staff and colleagues leave. No matter how much time and effort you put into retention strategies, you simply cannot keep them all.
Within an NGO or community group they are most often people we’ve worked closely with and together faced the challenges of organisational growth. While it can be hard to accept the resignation of a valuable staff member or colleague, it can also offer a great opportunity to learn about their experience working with us. A departing staff member is unusually candid, and their openness can help us craft and fine-tune our workplace to enhance our team and workplace culture.
When F2F isn’t best
I’ve always used online exit interviews sent via email attachment.
This way the departing staff member can, without the pressures and awkwardness of a face to face interview, answer more reflectively, insightfully and honestly.
I let departing staff know that I will be sending this and that while their compliance is voluntary, their contribution will be taken seriously and valued by our organisation. If I haven’t heard back within 30 days – which would be unusual, I will send the attachment again with reminder. No further reminder will follow if I haven’t heard back.
What kind of questions?
Use all or some of these 11 interview questions and shape them to your unique organisational needs.
- What prompted you to start looking for another job?
- Did you feel adequately recognised for your contributions? If not, how do you think recognition could have been better?
- Do you feel you were adequately remunerated for your position?
- Did you feel respected and valued, without bias or prejudice as a person?
- Do you feel your job description changed since you were hired, and if so, in what ways?
- Did you feel you had the tools, resources and working conditions to be successful in your role?
- Do you feel you had the necessary training to be successful in your role? If not, how could it have been better?
- What was the best part of your job here?
- What areas do you feel [organisation] can improve on?
- Do you have any suggestions for improving staff and team culture?
- Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Remember that interviews are easy to administer and provide invaluable organisational insight.
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