Understanding why employees leave your organisation is vital to success.

However, deciding how best to capture exit data in a consistent and meaningful way, is a challenge for many HR teams. We examine two common approaches to conducting exit Interviews: Online Exit Interviews vs Telephone Exit Interviews – which is most effective?

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Advantages of Online Exit Interviews

1. Honest
First of all, employees are likely to reflect on their experience with your business with honesty when discussing sensitive or difficult issue(s), because they can submit them anonymously.

2. Increased Accuracy
The absence of an interviewer reduces the likelihood of suggestive questioning for every individual participating in the exit interview. This will, as a result, reduce bias.

3. Quick to implement
Online exit interviews can be quick to set up – sent out to leavers in an instant and produce reports at the push of a button.

4. More Convenient?
Online exit interviews are conducted at the convenience of the employee whilst generating results as and when completed – therefore, decreasing time taken to arrange and conduct exit interviews.

Disadvantages of Online Exit Interviews:

1. Low Participation Rates
The effectiveness of online exit interviews largely relies on a high response rate. With little opportunity to encourage leavers to participate in an online exit interview, low response rates could generate patchy and inconsistent data which is difficult to work with.

2. Impersonal, One-way Conversation
Although online exit interviews can consist of both quantitative and qualitative questions, the ability to probe further is limited and does not give the employee an opportunity to ask the interviewer any questions, should they require to.

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Advantages of Telephone Exit Interviews

1. Useful Feedback
Gaining in-depth feedback is crucial to gathering meaningful evidence and data. The telephone interview will have the opportunity to probe further, generating feedback of a highly detailed nature – this could be pivotal in highlighting potential ways to resolve the issue.

2. Personal Touch
As the final interaction between your business and the employee, taking time to conduct a telephone exit interview to understand the influences of their decision to leave could be the difference in leaving a neutral, if not positive, last impression of your company.

3. Easily Tracked
Inputted by the interviewer in real-time, the information disclosed by the employee can be downloaded and used for developmental purposes to improve the recruitment experience.

4. Increased Participation Rates
They are prepared for the discussion to take place, so employees are likely to respond with increased detail and information throughout a telephone exit interview which has been previously arranged.

Disadvantages of Telephone Exit Interviews:

1. Bias
Exit interviews must be conducted in the right manner – the telephone interviewer must remain neutral. This will improve the effectiveness of exit interviews to collect honest feedback.

2. Unskilled interviewers
Employees may be less inclined to open up regarding sensitive issues, should they feel uncomfortable with the interviewer.

3. Finding the Time
Telephone exit interviews will need to be conducted around the employee’s availability and will, therefore, increase the administration time involved. This can prove difficult to arrange.

Exit Interviews provide fantastic insight into how you can refine your business processes to improve retention rates and employee experience. We have explored the pros and cons of online and telephone exit interviews – are either right for you?