Why should a school consider an exit interview or survey?
An exit interview is an interview or survey conducted with employees when they choose to leave the school. Exit interviews can identify both positive and negative reasons behind an employee’s departure and are a useful way to gain insight into employee views. It is important that the exit interview be part of a good transition process for both the departing employee and the school. Exit interviews should be voluntary. These can either be done electronically via a questionnaire or face to face as an interview.
What should be considered in the design of an exit interview?
The exit interview should be designed to find out more than just why the person is leaving. A useful exit interview should seek to gain employees’ views on the working conditions, leadership and general environment of the school in addition to asking for some suggestions for improvement. Besides the time and monetary costs involved, losing employees can be very costly in terms of losing their experience, skill set and the relationship they have built with school staff, students and the community. Therefore, it is very important that the feedback gained from exit interviews be taken seriously and appropriate follow-up action be taken on that feedback if any areas of improvement are identified.
The board and the principal should agree on the process of exit interviews and who has the authority to conduct these. We recommend a process being agreed at board level before commencing an exit interview process at your school or kura.
How do I explain this to the staff?
Be sure to explain that the purpose of the interview or survey is to gain insight into the employee’s motivation for leaving. Assure employees that no matter what they say, they will not prejudice themselves and that the purpose is to understand employee perceptions of the workplace and identify any areas for improvement.
See examples of questions in our exit interview template.