When an employee decides to quit your company, it's crucial that you try to figure out why. You'll be able to persuade others to stay by establishing their motives, so having an exit interview with departing employees is the perfect opportunity to get those answers. While these interviews are recommended for every industry, they are especially important in the travel sector, where turnover rates have been unrelenting. 

Read this article to find out what exit interviews are, why they’re important, and the best practices when conducting them. You will also learn how to make use of the data obtained through these interviews for your hotel business, which can help with staff retention. 

What Is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is a dialogue that takes place between an employer and an employee who has made the decision to leave the company, either voluntarily or involuntary. It’s a wrap-up conversation where the employer seeks to find out why an employee is leaving with an aim of preventing other employees from leaving. 

An exit interview can be conducted using various methods, such as a face to face interview, online survey, or informal email. While the approach you use depends on the specific case, interactive methods like surveys are ideal as they allow you to probe the employee for in-depth insights. Regardless of the method used or what the company policy states, this interview requires voluntary participation of the employee.

Why Are Exit Interviews Important?

Conducting exit interviews is an important HR practice. This is because they present a golden opportunity for you to gain insight into issues affecting your employees. While you can conduct employee surveys from time to time, they may not reveal the true picture of the workplace.

if done right, exit interviews can reveal hidden challenges and opportunities bubbling under the surface, such as long working hours, toxic workplace culture, or even managerial issues.  When several employees raise similar concerns, it reveals a pattern and may be time to take action. In essence, these interviews enable you to make things better for your remaining employees, thereby improving hotel staff retention rates, the employee experience and workplace culture. 


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Making Exit Interview Insights Count

Conducting an exit interview is not an end in itself. Quite often, employers collect data from departing hotel employees and do nothing with it. You need to go a step further and make use of the insights to improve employee experience and business performance. Here are various areas where you can make exit interview data count for your hotel/restaurant business.

1. Recruitment

One of the key advantages of exit interviews is that they improve your hotel's recruitment process. If your departing employees continually cite certain pain points about the hiring or onboarding process, you will need to improve how you source and onboard your candidates. Additionally, if your hotel staff are leaving you for a certain hospitality chain, you can research what the competitors are offering. Matching or getting close to what your competitors are offering can help you attract hospitality talent.

2. Employee Retention

Knowing what departing employees didn’t like about the company can help you improve working conditions for current employees. Consequently, this enables you to retain your employees for a longer period, and save your business the cost of recruiting and onboarding new staff.

3. Training Needs Assessment

One of the reasons an employee leaves is because of a poor working relationship with their immediate supervisors and managers. Consistent exposure to toxic managers affects employees' morale and productivity. Exit interview data can help identify the type of training your managers require in order to be more effective leaders in meeting business objectives and handling employee issues.

4. Workplace Culture

Your company’s culture is a critical ingredient in making employees happy and satisfied. Conversely, a toxic culture generates negative competition, lowers morale and hampers productivity in the workplace. When exiting employees cite a toxic work environment as the reason for their exit, it provides you with leeway to fix the workplace culture.

5. Tracking Progress

Logging and analysing exit metrics can help you evaluate whether corrective measures put in place have been effective. For instance, if low salaries or poor managerial skills are no longer mentioned in the interviews, it can imply that the salary scale is satisfactory or the managers’ training is bearing fruit.

Exit Interview Best Practices

The following best practices can be of great help when designing or tweaking your exit interview process: 

  • Target every exit: It can be tempting to only interview the departing star performer and ignore the average or severely underperforming employee. This is not advisable, as it may never reveal the whole truth and could make it harder to improve employees' welfare.
  • Timeliness: The ideal time to have the interview is on the employee’s last day. Doing so before they leave the business may not be insightful, while doing it much later may find them already disengaged.
  • Share the findings: It's a good practice to share the interview findings with other departmental leaders and not just the leaver's immediate supervisor. Sharing this data ensures everyone is aware of staff pain points, and gives them opportunities to make employees working under them feel valued.
  • Confidentiality and anonymity: As you share the findings, it's essential to ensure the employee's identity is concealed to avoid situations where the leaving employee may be identified. Maintaining the leaver’s anonymity helps in collecting more actionable information, and safeguards them from any repercussions. 
  • Choice of interviewer: You need to choose an experienced interviewer for the exit interview. Internally, this could be the HR manager, a neutral manager, or a departmental supervisor. You can also outsource these interviews to external HR experts. Either way, the interviewer needs to have the competence and emotional intelligence to handle the process. You can opt to use both methods to obtain as many insights as possible.

Closing Thoughts 

Exit interviews provide formal closure between you and the departing employee. When done right, these interviews enable the employee to leave with a good feeling, regardless of why they left. A positive last impression can be significant in enhancing your employer’s brand in the travel and leisure jobs market.

→🤔Exit interviews and other HR services for your hotel, resort or restaurant can be outsourced. But how do you ensure everything runs smoothly if you’re not doing it yourself? Read this article to learn the best practices for outsourcing your HR services!