When an employee leaves your bakery (whether by their choice or yours), taking the opportunity to gather insights can help you make improvements. Exit interviews are your chance to learn and grow, which will hopefully help you retain employees in the future.
An employee’s last day is typically the best time to conduct an exit interview. But don’t just spring it on them! Provide an agenda of what you’ll be discussing or a copy of the questions you intend to ask and schedule it in advance so they have a chance to prepare. Just make sure that the employee understands that their answers are for the bakery’s benefit and the benefit of future workers. This will help them give you more thoughtful answers.
The exit interview is not the time for idle gossip. Don’t ask targeted questions about specific people or situations. Keep the questions general and the conversation professional and work-related. Here are some common questions managers ask in an exit interview:
- Did you feel equipped to do the job here?
- What could we have done better?
- Would you ever consider returning to this company?
- Did you have all the tools you needed to succeed at your job?
- What qualities do you think we should look for in your replacement?
- What was the best part of your job?
- How can we improve our training and development?
Asked, Answered, and Implemented
If someone offers constructive criticism based on the questions you ask, resist the urge to defend your processes or decisions. We will always learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Decide which pieces to ignore and which to take to heart. An employee complaining that they had to work on weekends doesn’t mean you should close during your busiest time. But upon hearing a leaving staff member felt they lacked the proper training to be successful, you may consider taking the time to create formal training materials.
Whatever you do, don’t let the information you garner from exiting employees sit as notes at the bottom of your desk drawer. Review the feedback and see what actions you can take to improve your processes.
An employee leaving doesn’t have to be the end of the world or dramatic. With a little bit of tact and thoughtfulness, you and the employee can both walk away feeling good about what you learned from the experience.
If you’re interested in other staffing best practices, check out our Ultimate Guide to Bakery Management.