When a relationship in business comes to an end, it can evoke many emotions. Sometimes it is a mutual decision, or one person has an incredible new opportunity to immerse in their energy and be happy for them. But usually, it isn’t that rose-coloured experience.
Usually, even if it is for the best reasons and potentially beneficial to either party, It can be unsettling, embarrassing, or a tremendous relief.
Ouch eh? Feels downright uncomfortable in fact.
That discomfort or unsettling feeling leads us to want it over with as soon as possible! It is natural human nature to avoid or suppress emotions, with the only goal being to get to the other side of it and move on.
It may not be a popular idea, but I love, whenever possible, to take the time to have an exit interview when a business relationship comes to an end. An exit interview can be where the employer and the employee can do a little bit of archeology to learn about what worked and what didn’t work and make peace with the fact that this part of the relationship is over.
After all, an exit interview is an excellent opportunity to get authentic, honest feedback about the business culture, morale, how things are run and how things are perceived.
Critical information can be shared here if approached with honesty, integrity and respect.
Here are five great questions to ask:
Why are you leaving?
The quick answer to this may be to work somewhere else, with someone else or chase another professional dream. What you want to know is what prompted them to look for another opportunity in the first place. Dig deep to understand the reason behind the choice to chase another path.
What could we have done differently?
This question is open-ended enough so let it pass to the other person and be interpreted as it unfolds in your conversation. It could be something like a process, payroll or pricing or maybe about the professionalism (or lack of) they faced.
Did you feel you could communicate or ask questions?
If you didn’t get to the relationship issues or impact of the exit in the previous questions, this would get you there. As specific things that they loved or believed lacked in the relationship, support and respect they received from colleagues and their medical directing service.
How would you describe the culture in aesthetics?
This question may seem very high-level regarding the entire medical aesthetic sector but is key to identifying the mood of those around you. This is a demanding and competitive industry, but it doesn’t have to break a team’s culture or the spirit of this business. Instead, find out if it does to each other.
How can professional development be improved?
In every business relationship, both parties should feel they are respected, supported, and growing as a result. Exchange information about how you both perceived the relationship’s health and its growth or stagnation. Collectively try to respectfully identify better ways to do that in future relationships.
A word of Caution about Exit Interviews!
The critical piece about a functional exit interview is that this should not be the first time one of the parties learned that there was a problem. This is not the time for either party to reveal the under excavated treasure chest of issues and miscommunications that could have been addressed long before the exit interview. When you unearth Pandora’s box in an exit interview, it says you were not interested in actually ever solving the problem because this is the first time it’s being mentioned.
If you have a problem with another’s behaviour, they should not be the last to hear about it, and even worse, they certainly shouldn’t hear it from someone else.
As effective as these questions are for an exit interview are, the key is to not wait for the exit interview to ask them! Instead, gather information and feedback along the way and create the psychologically safe environment everyone desires.