At a time when it seems every second person is ‘pivoting’ away from their long term career – or just plain calling it quits – exit interviews are becoming an even more important tool for finding the right people.

The Great Resignation was first coined by a Texan University professor, Anthony Klotz, who predicted the mass exodus of workers across the United States in May 2021 – two months before 4 million Americans quit their jobs.

Like with most American trends, New Zealand hasn’t quite seen the same numbers yet – but there is evidence that we could be heading in the same direction. A recent Hays study surveyed 500 professionals and found 39% planned to look for a new job in the next 12 months, while another 39% were ‘open to new opportunities’.

Their reasons vary, with an uncompetitive salary cited by the most participants, followed closely by a lack of promotional opportunities and a lack of new challenges, and a wealth of other factors.

The reasons are important. A time of great turmoil of the kind we have seen in recent years can serve to shake up the humdrum of normality and, for those left relatively unscathed by the situation, it can show us there are different, maybe even better ways of doing things.

Some may have felt a lack of support during this time and lost the motivation to carry on serving a company because of this. Some may have discovered a better work-life balance through working from home or spending more time with their families. Aside from money and promotions, these are valid reasons to change your career.

Knowing the reasons is incredibly helpful, and that is where the Exit Interview comes in. This interview can be an easily overlooked step in the employment process, especially when employees are leaving en masse. Asking the right questions of a soon-to-be ex-employee may provide you with the right questions to ask future employees to ensure you hire people who will stay on, and it may also help you provide a place where other current employees want to continue working.

Questions should relate to the culture of the workplace, how supported they felt in their work, and whether they would recommend the company to others. Give them the opportunity to air their grievances without judgement, if necessary, so that you may learn from what went wrong – and conversely, what they appreciated about the job. Mining this feedback and experience from those who are walking out will help improve the longevity of those walking in.

If you need help creating a format for exit interviews or outsourcing your HR for if your Head of People & Culture has moved on, get in touch with us at Freerange Works.