Exit Interviews are Not Enough

I’ve got “legacy knowledge” on the brain these days.

When a veteran employee leaves the company, how do we prevent his vault of knowledge from walking out the door as well?  Most companies facilitate some sort of exit interview, to capture the employee feedback before they leave, but typically surface-level, “employee relations” information is what is documented.  As learning professionals, how can we get involved with this process?  I feel it is our responsibility as a consultative business partner to gather learning opportunities in every phase of the employment “lifecycle”, and the final stage is just as critical as the onboarding process; it’s just critical for different reasons.  I’ve been thinking about this lately.  A lot.  And I’m ready to craft a solution for my organization.  For starters, here’s what I’m going to experiment with:

Facilitating a conversation with the departing employee (and possibly his/her manager).

I want to start asking questions that will help the manager and employee come up with a solid transition plan.  Sure, many teams already do this in one way or another, but I have yet to encounter a formalized process for this.  Some questions to ask might include:

  • What projects are you involved in that will need to be assumed by others?
  • Who are the “go-to” people that you rely on for information or assistance?
  • What advice would you give an incumbent who will be taking over your role?
  • How have you found success in your role?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
  • What internal systems, processes, or resources do you find essential and helpful to do your job?

Ideally, sitting down to discuss these items will be the plan.  However, if timing is an issue, creating a simple survey with questions like these could be an alternate solution.  This will be an evolving process, so I’ll keep you posted on progress!



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