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The Importance of Open Feedback in Exit Interviews

Most employment terms will have a clause that sets out how a resignation can be dealt with. This will most likely include an exit interview or meeting. This is not a tick-boxing exercise. Some organisations see probation reviews and exit interviews as an administrative exercise, or a time waster. However, they are some of the most important meetings where people can be open, honest and direct. Therefore, creating a space that accepts open feedback in exit interviews is extremely important.

With exit interviews, the person is not worried about saying the wrong thing, hampering a pay increase or promotion. Therefore, you are more likely to get the truth, warts and all.

The person sitting across from the manager who has chosen to leave will never be more willing to be honest about their reason for leaving. If there is something to be said that’s negative, you should want to know about it, so that you can take action.

Top 5 Issues Raised in 2022 Exit Interviews:


  1. Work Life Balance
  2. Pay and conditions
  3. Issues with duties and responsibilities
  4. Career change
  5. Feeling unsupported with personal issues / wellbeing issues


When we look at these five top most common reasons given for resigning, there are some that may be out of an organisation’s control. For example, if the person wishes to change career, or wants a substantial increase in salary, this may simply be impossible to address. When this is clear, the employee can be asked for feedback on everything else they experienced in the workplace. These questions are your chance to address matters about the workplace and the feedback can be priceless.

However, for issues that can be addressed by the organisation, it is extremely important to ask further questions. Issues around workplace culture, managerial styles, being unsupported, overworked, or unappreciated, are issues that can be addressed within any organisation’s capacity. Getting to the cause and solution of these issues are extremely important for an organisation’s longevity.


Employer Sample Questions to Use in Exit Interviews:


  1. Out of ten, how would you rate us as a place to work?
  2. Why did we lose marks?
  3. Have you found that the role and responsibilities allowed you to learn and grow?
  4. Looking back on your time with us, is there anything that would have worked better for us to have supported you in your role?
  5. What did you enjoy about being here?
  6. What did you not enjoy?
  7. Would you recommend us to anyone to join as a member of the team?
  8. If not, could you provide feedback?
  9. Would you return if your new role does not live up to expectations?


In reality, when the exit is amicable and the person is simply moving on, feedback helps address any ongoing issues which could cause further resignations if left unresolved. Last year, HR Duo tracked issues which arise in these settings, and some side issues that showed up through this questioning included:


  • The impact of a work colleague abusing sick leave, and the pressure that this placed on others covering the absence.
  • Roles and responsibilities not being clear, leading to blurred boundaries and overlapping of work.
  • Feelings of unfair and inconsistent treatment where requests for remote working were refused and granted to others.
  • Out of hours contact on an ongoing basis.
  • Dissatisfaction with canteen and other facilities.
  • Unrealistic targets and feelings of pressure on a person or team.


If something is raised in the meeting, such as a grievance or bullying concern, this can be addressed by the employer during the meeting. An employee can be assured they do not need to resign, that there are ways for the organisation to deal with such issues.


Author: Kevin Callan LL.B BL is Chief HR Officer with our partners, HR Duo. He practised as an employment law and industrial relations specialist barrister for twelve years before taking up internal positions in HR.

Contact Us

If your organisation has experienced recent resignation and are seeking new talent, contact our Head of Recruitment, Fergal O’Sullivan or visit here for more information.