Sample Dialogue of Exit Interview by tug12529


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									                                  STAFF EXIT PROCEDURES

                                                                           Page No
Introduction                                                                          1

Section One:       The Exit Interview & its Purpose
                   What is an Exit Interview                                          4
                   Knowledge Transfer                                                 5
                   Participation                                                      8

Section Two:       The Case For and Against                                          10

Section Three: Developing an Exit Procedure Policy                                   14
                   Sample Exit Procedure Policy                                      15

Section Four:      Conducting Exit Interviews
                   How to conduct an Exit Interview                                  17
                   Who should and who should not conduct exit interviews             19
                   Sample Exit Interview Questions                                   20
                   Knowledge Transfer Questions                                      22
                   Exit Questionnaire                                                23
                   Staff Satisfaction Survey                                         24
                   Guidelines for Conducting Exit Interviews                         25

Section Five:      Horrible Happenings                                               27

EdSol Resources                                                                      29

In education management we seem to have borrowed many aspects of what has unquestionably been deemed
as ‘accepted wisdom’ in personnel management from the commercial, corporate or governmental sectors. For
instance we now have key performance indicators, satisfaction surveys, measurable outcomes, critical result
areas, all of which have now infiltrated ‘eduspeak’. We have also increasingly seen the use of exit interviews.
It is not without significance that in my experience the exit interview has mostly been conducted at the
insistence of trustees on the board who justify their use on the grounds that it is common practice in their
employment and therefore must be of use in schools. Because as an exercise principals have rarely
conducted them and have had little if any training in carrying them out and because they have been primarily
suggested by the board it is very common for board members to undertake the task.

All this raises a number of important questions such as:

           What actually are exit interviews?

           What is their purpose, are they of any real value?

           How are they conducted and by whom?

           What information are we looking for?

           How will we use information or knowledge gathered?

           Are they really valid as a data gathering tool?

These are in fact the very questions for school management and for principals in particular. From
experience and if we think a little deeper some more potentially sinister questions do arise. For instance:

           Are board members, the legal employers of staff, the appropriate people to ask departing staff
           questions about why they are leaving?

           Is it not likely that information obtained can be used against principals and other senior staff?

           How is confidentiality maintained if, say only one or two staff members leave in any one or two

           Is the exit interview exercise really a substitute for appraisal?

           Should exit interviews, if we use them at all, be only one aspect of the staff management

           How do we manage the ‘parting shot’ syndrome from a disgruntled staff member?

There seems little doubt that many people employed in the human resource industry feel there is significant
value in exit interviews or surveys and there may be something useful to be gained from seeking reasons for
an employee’s departure and suggestions about how our organisation may benefit from a reflective backward
glance before they physically move on, but my firm belief is that of themselves they are of very questionable
value. At best we will obtain some statistical information and maybe some ideas, concerns or issues that had
not been passed on prior to resignation; at worst they can be used as a means of questioning the
performance or competence of remaining staff (usually the principal) and clouding the relationship between
board members conducting the interview and management.

If a school is to obtain anything useful out of exit interviews then they must be very carefully managed as an
integral component of an ongoing process of open dialogue within the school. This process could include
initial interview with newly appointed staff, staff, department and syndicate meetings, appraisal interviews,
subject committee meetings, pastoral committee meetings and so on. It is simply pointless to have an exit
interview unconnected to such opportunities for comment. Current practice prevalent in school staff
management emphasises consultative, distributed leadership and shared decisionmaking. When those
aspects are in place together with these dialogue opportunities listed then feedback to school managers is
ongoing and useful in directing and informing change. The exit interview may be part of this ongoing process
as a final data gathering and reflective exercise, again to assist possible change in school management
practices. As such it is useful.

Therefore it would seem obvious that considered in this way the exit interview may be viewed as another
management tool by which useful, reasoned and rational data may be obtained in order to address perceived
deficiencies in systems or approaches currently prevailing. And thus if it is a management tool, part of the
personnel management system in the school, it is management’s role to have them carried out and not the
board’s prerogative. This is I believe congruent with the provision in the Education Act empowering
principals to manage the school on a day to day basis as he or she thinks fit (s76).

The aim of this resource is to guide principals in the purposes and processes of exit interviews as a part of
their personnel management systems. It looks at the exit interview as a management function, at the case
for and against having them, formulating a policy, how to carry out exit interviews and how to transfer
knowledge into useful data. Finally there are sample interview questions, questionnaires and some case
studies gleaned from personal experience under the heading ‘Horrible Happenings’.

Ron Scott
March 2006

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