Conducting Exit Interviews

THREE IMPORTANT STEPS FOR CONDUCTING PROPERTY MANAGEMENT EXIT INTERVIEWS� by Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach

Research has shown that a person who resigns from your property management company is leaving for one of three possible reasons: a new career opportunity, an unsolicited job offer or for a grievance that has not been handled correctly. Whenever a person resigns from your property management company for voluntary reasons it’s normally a surprise and it can be expensive to replace a valuable team member. This article will outline three important steps for conducting exit interviews, a process which can reduce employee turnover and improve profitability at the same time.

Implementing exit interviews: Start by explaining to your property management team that an exit interview will be conducted for any person who is voluntarily leaving your company. When done respectfully, exit interviews send a strong message to your team because it says that you and your company want to know why they are leaving. An exit interview process will also help you and your property management company clearly understand why people are leaving and may give you valuable clues as to where some improvement needs to be made from within your company. An exit interview process will also give each former employee a chance to tell you why he or she are leaving and this form of closure is both healthy and productive prior to their departure.

Tip From The Coach: As you begin to review your exit interview forms, look for trends that might point to deeper problems or might help you see new opportunities. Here are some trends to look for: the average length of time a person works for your property management company before they voluntarily resign, the top three reasons why a person leaves your company, the top three positions with the most turnover, what internal changes might prevent team members from leaving, do you see any turnover patterns within a specific department or group, and what are you doing on a personal level to prevent future resignations.

Conducting exit interviews: The next step is to determine how exit interviews are going to be done in your property management company. Here are some typical ways to conduct an exit interview: give an exit interview form to the person who is leaving and ask them to complete it before their last day, give an exit interview form to the person who is leaving and ask them to mail it back in a confidential envelope, meet with the departing person on their last day and conduct a verbal exit interview or schedule a time to have this person call your human resource department for a telephone exit interview.

Tip From The Coach: With many of our property management clients, we have been asked to conduct exit interviews with some of their departing employees, as a neutral third party. We use a custom exit interview form for each property management company and then create a summary of our findings. From this summary, we then begin to address the internal areas that will either reduce employee turnover or make for a more productive and profitable organization.

Questions to ask during an exit interview: It has been our experience that each of our property management clients want to create their own custom exit interview form. Here are some sample questions to get you started with yours: What did you enjoy the most about working for our property management company? What did you enjoy the least and why? What suggestions or feedback can you share that would make our company stronger and more successful? Did we handle your complaint/grievance in an appropriate and timely way? Were you clear about your career path and future within our company? What would it take for you to stay, if that were possible? Is there anything else you would like to share as your final comment?

Tip From The Coach: Remember, if exit interviews are handled respectfully, you and your company will gain a wealth of knowledge to help grow, refine, polish and solidify the success of your property management organization. In addition, a departing employee will more than likely offer honest commentary about what is and what is not working in your company. Are you ready to really listen to what they have to say? More importantly, are you ready to take the action steps to resolve, fix, and improve whatever is necessary?

Want to hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions about how to build a custom exit interview form? Fax a note on your letterhead to 435-615-8670 or send an E-mail to ernest@powerhour.com and The Coach will fax/E-mail you a free TeleForum invitation.