Category Archives: General

exit interview

How Can We Fix the Exit Interview Process? [Reader Question]

When I left my last job, I had an exit interview where my employer asked me all kinds of questions about my satisfaction and why I was leaving, but I didn’t answer honestly because I was already leaving. Do they actually use that information or was the exit interview a waste of time?

exit interviewThe Value of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are the process by which employers talk with exiting employees anywhere from a day to a week before they depart the company, asking questions about their satisfaction, issues, or areas to improve.

As an employer, I very much appreciated exit interviews. They gave me insights that were tough to get from the day-to-day interactions with people. While I did hate having to have conversations with people who were leaving, I tracked each answer they gave and created a system that categorized the information to make it as meaningful and actionable as possible.

Sample Exit Interview Questions

  1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
  2. What appealed to you about the new job, company, and/or culture?
  3. What could have been done for you to remain here?
  4. Did you share your concerns with anyone here prior to leaving?
  5. If you could change anything about your job or the company, what would it be?
  6. Would you consider coming back to work here in the future? In what capacity? What would need to change?

The Issues with the Exit Interview Process

The biggest problem with exit interviews is that people are not often honest in how they respond to questions (which can make the data useless). For instance, asking someone why they were looking for a new job will often net the response of “I’m just looking for a new challenge” or “I needed career growth.” Those can sometimes be code for “My manager is a terrible person and I can’t stand it anymore.”

So, why are people sometimes less than truthful, since they are leaving anyway? The biggest reason is a fear of burning a bridge in case the new job doesn’t work out like they hope. If it turns out to be even worse, the person might want to come back, and answering the questions truthfully may seem like they are slamming the door, locking it, and throwing away the key forever.

Potential Solutions for Fixing Exit Interviews

That said, there are a few techniques I’ve learned over the years to improve exit interview data collection and the experience for the person on the receiving end as well. If you want to have a great exit interview, here are a few of my go-to requirements these days:

  • Send a survey form via Google Docs (it’s free!) at least two weeks AFTER the person takes their new job. They are already rooted in their new role and will usually give you more honest answers, especially if they don’t have to do it face to face or via voice.
  • Do a follow up phone call a month later asking deeper questions and reinforcing the responses they already gave with any additional detail. By now they are six weeks into their new job and they know if they are going to stay and be happy, for the  most part. This means they can be more open and honest about the conditions and experiences at your company, offering more helpful data points to support decision making.

The other important piece is to try and use the data you get. If a manager is consistently losing people but nobody will say the manager is the problem, you need to dig deeper, because statistically managers are responsible for 70% of an employee’s satisfaction on the job. It may be pay or it may be benefits, but the majority of the time it’s actually their direct supervisor that is the issue.

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long!

Do I Have to Buy a Standing Desk for My Employee?

Spoiler alert: people have a love/hate relationship with standing desks. Some people swear by them, others can’t stand the thought of standing all day long on top of their otherwise demanding job.

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long!

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long! :-)

But this is a real issue that HR teams are dealing with almost every day. Managers are bringing up the question: do I have to buy this standing desk just because the employee wants it? What about more nuanced questions, like “do you need a doctor’s note for standing desk requests?”

Well, if you experience pain or other associated issues from sitting at a desk, there are legitimate medical reasons for standing desk usage. Below, I talk about some of the medical benefits of a standing desk and how to build a solid business case to get your (or your employee’s) request approved.

The Anatomy of Reasonable Accommodation

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awesome

5 Secrets for How to Be a Great Place to Work

One of the annual occurrences here in North Alabama is the “best place to work” competition. It’s a regular staple for HR leaders and employers to try and prove they are, well, one of the best places to work. One of the firms that I know fairly well has actually won the contest multiple times, walking away with awards virtually every year.

I recently had a chance to connect with their VP of Employee Experience and took away five tips and ideas on how to be a great place to work. The video is below–I’d love to hear your thoughts on which tip resonates for you! Continue reading

We’re Only Human 58: Open Sourcing the Recruiting Playbook from Northwestern Mutual

What if you had a way to continuously research and qualify candidates, creating a never-ending pipeline of interested individuals ready to take the jobs your company is hiring for? That’s the vision of Paul Shane, a talent acquisition and onboarding leader from Northwestern Mutual. 

In this interview, Paul opens the sourcing and recruiting playbook at Northwestern Mutual, sharing how his team targets, identifies, and connects with the right candidates over and over again. It’s a powerful story and one we can all learn some lessons from.

Plus, Ben tells the story of the time he almost hired a candidate with no pants. Yes, really. 

Connect with Paul: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulshane1

Connect with Lighthouse about the research: http://lhra.io/contact

We’re Only Human 57: Prioritizing D&I at Online Gaming Firm NCSOFT

Many HR leaders are guilty of being overloaded and failing to keep tabs on the external environment outside the business. They may be buttoned up on the inside, but forces and factors outside the walls of the firm can also impact how the organization functions (or not). 

In this episode, Ben brings in conversations from Chauncey Gammage, SVP of HR at NCSOFT. NCSOFT is a firm operating in the online gaming industry, the audience of which is overwhelmingly male. That’s probably a reason that the workers in the industry are also male-dominated. However, Gammage talks about how the firm’s female employees interact with the user population and how the lines of D&I can extend beyond the watuplls of the firm. 

The insights from the NCSOFT HR leader are punctuated by commentary from Ben on the practical implications and how to make this a priority for your own firm, a different type of format than most of our episodes. 

Learn more about NCSOFT: https://us.ncsoft.com/

Connect with Chauncey: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chauncey-gammage-5093731/

alabama equal pay act

Alabama’s New Equal Pay Act: What You Need to Know

Last week I posted this to my personal Facebook page, but I think it will be relevant to many of the people here as well because other states are adding these on a regular basis (California, Delaware, Atlanta GA, Hawaii, Illinois, and more!) The equal pay portion is important, but the more immediate impact will come from the last piece of this: a requirement that limits employers with regard to asking for prior salary history in a job application/interview process. 

To my Facebook friends in Alabama, your friendly neighborhood HR guy here to explain one of our newest laws that affects every one of you that works for an employer and all of my other HR/recruiting nerd friends in the industry (effective October 1, 2019).

The Clark-Figures Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay people equally for doing the same work at the same performance level, regardless of your gender or race. However, most importantly, it also helps by preventing employers from asking you about salary history.

Why does salary history matter?

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speaking

So you want to speak at HR conferences? Advice for the journey

One of the key parts of what I do in my job is speaking. Webinars. Conferences. Seminars. I’ll talk to pretty much anyone about anything related to HR.

speakingAnd I LOVE it.

This is pretty funny for anyone that knows me well, because I’m fairly shy and introverted. If I show up to the pre-conference party myself, I’ll eat quickly and leave for the safety of my hotel room and a good book. Ideally I’ll have a friend or someone meeting me so at least I have a person to connect with when I arrive. Better still if they introduce me to one or two people so I am not flying solo (or my “return to home” alert kicks in and I’m out of there in a flash).

Anyway, I have been speaking over 10 years now. The very first event was actually pushed on me (kindly) by a friend that thought I had important things to say. I was early in my career, but I had lots of experience already using social media, building a strong network, and developing myself outside of work. That formed the core presentation called “HR Sponge,” which was aptly named because the friend called me her sponge for new information. :-)

Fast forward to today, and I’ve spoken to tens of thousands of HR, talent, and learning professionals across the world. Spring and fall are heavy HR conference seasons, so I spend a fair amount of time on the road during those times. It balances out, because summer and winter are family time! With the new book that came out late last year, I’ve been speaking a lot more on the topic of artificial intelligence and how it can help us make HR more human, not less.

(Don’t tell my wife but I’m already thinking about the next book.) :-)  Continue reading