Employee retention and turnover are two sides of the same coin. In every company, HR policies and processes cover both joining employees and leaving employees. On boarding and training are critical elements for the former, while exit interviews are essential for the latter.

For employers, exit interviews matter because they provide valuable information in terms of (employees’) perceptions, morale, troublesome trends and problem areas (e.g. bullying or sexual harassment).

For employees, an exit interview can be a tempting opportunity for no-holds-barred venting about their horrible experience ‘slogging’ for the ‘company from hell’. Often, expressing such frustration or anger is likely to be taken as sour grapes or bitterness rather than as constructive feedback.

To avoid leaving a poor impression of you after you leave, resist the temptation to offload, and limit your exit interview discussion to the below elements:

  1. Full and Final Settlement

Payroll processing for employees who have resigned and are now serving their notice period typically takes longer than it does for regular employees. An exit interview is a good time to ask for details about your full and final (FnF) settlement – amount, release date, tax payable, etc. Also ask about its break-up – salary, reimbursements, arrears, applicable bonus, etc.

It is also a good idea to ask about the correct contact person in HR or Payroll who can answer any questions you may have about your FnF.

  1. Letters of recommendation/reference

Ideally, recommendation letters should already be written before the exit interview so the employee doesn’t have to worry about the impact on their evaluation. However, the manner of your departure can have negative consequences for you in this area so be careful about what you say in the interview. Ask when the letters will be available.

  1. Experience certificate

In some companies, outgoing employees can download their experience certificate from the self-service module of the company’s HRMS system. If your company does not use a system, ask your exit interviewer when you can expect to receive it and from whom.

  1. Letter of resignation acceptance

Your exit interview may be a formal step to indicate the company’s acceptance of your resignation. It may be preceded by an email from your direct supervisor and HR representative acknowledging your resignation. Some companies also provide letters or send notifications to indicate resignation acceptance. An exit interview is a good time to discuss this document and its contents.

  1. Leave balance

Discuss your leave balance and ask if you can either convert your remaining leaves into a monetary payout or if you can utilize them to shorten your notice period.

  1. Other documents

Ask about any other documents that you are entitled to, including letters, certificates, pay slips, etc.

To ensure that you don’t burn any bridges, here are some useful ‘exit interview tips’:

  • Remain cordial and respectful, even if you are angry/frustrated/disappointed
  • Stick to the facts, not opinions
  • Include positive feedback

Avoid giving negative feedback but if you have to, keep it general and never, ever make personal attack

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