Case study: Onwelo

There’s no second chance to make a first impression as well as to make a very good last one. There is no easy way farewell to an employee but we should consider how to make it right and build a two-sided process that will satisfy both.

As HR people we have to remember that departing employee is the organization’s treasury of knowledge. They know the best what is worth improving or what aspects are great and contributed to cooperate with your company for a certain period of time.

Nowadays, at Onwelo we are focusing on gathering and analyzing data, that enables us to improve our work environment, attract the best talents and enhance well-being of employees. We pay great attention to the entire life cycle of an employee, starting from a recruitment process through onboarding, a development period and also very important from my point of view, a process of ending relationship with the organization. Each stage gives us the opportunity to collect data but as my experience shows the “farewell time” is the perfect one to summarize and gather facts that need to be improved or highlighted. As Peter Drucker said, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So what can we do?

Design offboarding process

Since the beginning of 2016, we put a lot of emphasis in Onwelo on collecting feedback from our employees at the final moment. We have a whole process designed. Of course, it has changed during years of our presence on the market but one element is present from the beginning – an exit interview. Shortly, it is a survey conducted by an HR Specialist with individuals leaving the company. The form we created covers general questions (time of employment, department, last project) and goes to more detailed ones such as: what should be improved, what was the most liked and disliked while working with us, what our (almost ex) employees value the most. We try to gather feedback from all people who leave our company, regardless the reason of their leaving is. Each of these conversations requires an appropriate dose of delicacy, empathy and support. However, the feedback we receive is worth the effort. If it is well managed, leavers usually tend to be more honest than regular workers in giving feedback. Information we receive allows us to target processes that need to be changed or those that we may not have paid attention to so far. On the other side, it gives a moment of appreciation for being a part of the team and the possibility to clarify allegations. It clears the air and gives a sense of ease. 

Analyse data

It is great to have all that information about what works and what does not work in leavers’ opinion in your company, but the goal is to do something about it. Try to analyse this data on regular basis and transform qualitative data into quantitative ones. What percentage of people leaves because of precise reasons? How many people mentioned the same thing while talking about what they appreciate in the company and what they miss. Are there any differences between locations or departments? What conclusions can be drawn based on it? What can be the next steps to improve the given areas or to underline them even stronger in the organization? Plan the change based on this data, make it useful for whole company.

Remember about the people aspect

The form of the exit interview itself is important but we have to remember that the only way to get sincere responses is when we also take care about other aspects of the conversation like: a consent of employee to have this talk, confidentiality and a right moment. Ask the interlocutor wherever they want to go through this kind of interview. A good idea is to explain why it is important, who will have an access to provided information and how it will be used. Don’t forget to ask the employee when is the best time and space to conduct such crucial conversation. It’s not easy for everyone to give constructive feedback. Sometimes it’s emotional, stressful or connected with crossing personal borders. Last but not least, if only you have chance to, do it in person! 

The most positive aspects of conducting such interviews are situations, when something is clarified during conversations and influences positively the employee’s decision to finally stay in organization – believe me, sometimes it happens!

Karolina Morawiecka
HR Biznes Partner

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