To: HR
Fr: Al Sklover
Re: Exit Interviews – Keep Them Positive

Dear HR Director:

A client has recently reported an experience that I thought I would share with you. You might file it under “How to Make a Lasting Negative Impression.”

My client reported that she delivered her resignation to her Supervisor, and then to you, in the most positive way, just as I had encouraged her. As I told her, “Though you may be cutting a tie, it is foolish to burn a bridge.”

My client reported that she was then called to an Exit Interview where she was told, among other things, “How could you do this to us? . . . You don’t know what you are doing . . . You are making a big mistake.” The tone was not positive, to say the least, but better described as angry, resentful and heavy-handed.

My client reported that, when she entered the room, she had thoughts of one day in the future returning if and when she had greater skills, stronger relations in the industry, and was deserving of a truly top level position.

My client reported that, when she exited the room, she swore she would never, ever return to the company, no matter what.

My client reported that, if anyone ever asked her if they should consider working for your company, she would tell them this story.

I know you were upset to lose a good performer, with a positive attitude and work ethic, and someone you thought had great potential. But being a Human Resources professional takes a more mature disposition. Somehow, you failed to retain this great “human resource.” You must understand that it is your failure, not hers, and it is your lesson to learn, not hers.

What could have been a positive experience was turned into a very negative one. Call it bad reputation, call it bad karma, call it what you want: you have done your company a disservice.

You are the one who requested the Exit Interview, and you are the one – more than anyone – who should have made it a learning experience for her supervisor, your staff, and yourself.

Direct Human Resources. Don’t destroy Human Relations. When it comes to Exit Interviews, Keep Them Positive, or don’t do them at all.

To help you remember this, and to encourage you to take this to heart, I’m sending a copy of this Memo to the Chief Executive and the Members of the Board of Directors.

Thank you.

Al Sklover

© 2012 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved