Collector - September 2017 - 7

BESTPRACTICES

Are there any examples you can give me so I
can investigate?"
"We've noticed when we push back gently,
probing for clarification, they kind of back
down because they feel like they are being
heard," Van Horn said.

ACT ON THE DATA

Don't be afraid to follow up with
additional questions. After all, the point of
these conversations is to gather as much
information as you can.
"I'll often probe further, even with positive
responses," Van Horn said. "I'll say, 'Tell me
about your supervisor. If you have a good
one, tell me why that person was such a great
supervisor and I'll give them some kudos,
and if not, tell me why they weren't great so
I can provide them with a critique and help
them improve themselves.'"

KEEP FEEDBACK ANONYMOUS
In an effort to avoid burning bridges,
employees may hesitate to be completely
honest in their exit interview-what
if they someday want to return to the
company? That's why it's important to
assure them that their responses will be
completely anonymous.
"When there is feedback to be given to a
supervisor or a management team, I don't
give it right away so it's not obvious who
said it," Van Horn said. "I say, 'This is some
information I've received' or 'Here are some
suggestions that have been made. I'd like

COLLECTOR 09.17

your feedback.' I don't ever want what an
employee tells me to come back to them in a
negative fashion."

PREPARE FOR EMOTIONAL
RESPONSES
Some departing employees who feel they
have nothing to lose may provide more, let's
say, unvarnished feedback on your company
than you may have expected. While it's not
always easy to take, don't let these responses
scare you away from determining if there is
a kernel of truth under the vitriol.
"I've only had one person get extremely
negative," Van Horn said. "I took very hefty
notes and later pulled their supervisor
aside and had a one-on-one, asking for the
supervisor's side of the story. After some
additional investigation, I found out there
were underlying issues with the employee,
including prior performance issues. You really
have to weigh all the information carefully."
If the departing employee is getting
wound up or overly emotional, keep focused
and stick to your script. If the employee says,
"I hated my manager! She was so bad at her
job!" ask for specifics: "Why do you say that?

The information you get from these
interviews can help you identify your
company's strengths and weaknesses. Is
it offering competitive benefits? Are your
managers sufficiently trained? Is morale good?
At ConServe, all exit interview data is
entered into a master spreadsheet and the
data is imported into the company's human
resources information system. Booker sends
exit interview details, coupled with other
data, to upper management so they can flag
and address any trends in turnover.
Van Horn said while employees
sometimes point out perceived "problems"
that the company just can't change-either
for budgetary or legal reasons-BerlinWheeler has made some specific changes
based on feedback from exit interviews.
"For instance, some employees told us
that the training we provided when they
first joined the company was too fast-they
said they'd wished they had more help
understanding how to be on the phone and
even just how to use the phone system in
general," she said. "So we are expanding
our new-hire training program-right now
on a case-by-case basis, but with the goal
to extend it from two weeks to four weeks.
Also we will assign trainers to stay on the
production floor with new employees so they
don't feel alone or overwhelmed."
Mining your exit interviews for data and
trends will help you continue to provide
a positive, productive workplace for your
employees.
"An exit interview can take no more than
10 minutes but it can give you a wealth of
information," Van Horn said. "If you don't
know something is broken, how can you fix
it? You need to start listening to employees."
Anne Rosso May is editor of Collector
magazine.

07



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - September 2017

Collector - September 2017 - Cover1
Collector - September 2017 - Cover2
Collector - September 2017 - 1
Collector - September 2017 - 2
Collector - September 2017 - 3
Collector - September 2017 - 4
Collector - September 2017 - 5
Collector - September 2017 - 6
Collector - September 2017 - 7
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