Exit Interviews...honesty or just keep the "moral high ground"?

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    Oct 08, 2015 10:57 AM GMT
    I have a new job and will be leaving one state agency and starting with a new one in 10 days.
    I have been with the agency for 15 years. My co-workers are some of the BEST, but, managers, policies and morale has been some of the WORST.
    The question is....do I just keep my opinions and experience at the agency to myself...the 'moral high ground" and let the managers "discover" what I did...OR unload both barrels over the issues that lead me to change jobs? It is VERY RARE to have anyone quit their job....and most stay well past their eligible retirement, until forced out. As normal for me, I am an "anomaly", the round block forced into a square hole....
    Thoughts or experiences with "exit interviews"/
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    Oct 08, 2015 11:02 AM GMT
    Be honest, but not cruel.

    State the problems and have facts to back them up... don't resort to "he's an asshole" as grounds for leaving.

    If there are problems that could be fixed, the agency should want to change them... they might not know or recognize the issues as problems.

    and if they don't want to fix things, then that's proof that you're making the right move.

    Congrats on the new job, and good luck!
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    Oct 08, 2015 11:53 AM GMT
    Good advice about avoiding an angry rant.
    You never know if you may need to network with them down the road.
    You can specifically address specific problems but don't indulge in character assassination.
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    Oct 08, 2015 12:20 PM GMT
    Honesty is never the best policy in this case. And the truth will never set you free. Let the managers find out on their own; that's why they are paid the big bucks. The messenger is always shot in the world of work.
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    Oct 08, 2015 12:55 PM GMT
    dont burn those bridges. You must of deserved and they gave you a good reference so you got your new position. But happens if the new position doosnt work out?? what if you last only 6months at your new job for reasons not your own?


    never never say anything bad.
    likely hr already knows.
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    Oct 08, 2015 1:09 PM GMT
    If others are comfortable enough maybe things aren't as bad as you describe them. Maybe it just wasn't a good culture for you. I would allude to areas of improvement but be general and always let them know you truly enjoyed your time there. Keep it positive and general let them know your excitement for your knew job is pulling you away not their policies.
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    Oct 08, 2015 5:43 PM GMT
    Best advice is not to burn bridges - You never know when a reference or a good word from a former boss might be helpful. Even if you did not get along with your boss, once you are gone, they are not likely to give you a bad reference.

    State agencies don't change much - they are usually totally encrusted with procedures and practices inherited from past managers. Getting any change is usually like trying to move a mountain - a fruitless endeavor (unless you are at the very top of the agency). Your criticisms would be wasted breath. Save them for the ears of outsiders, if you ever have the opportunity.

    Would keep stated reasons for leaving as something like, "The new position/agency was a great career opportunity for me;" or, "I wanted a greater challenge in my career;" or, "I didn't perceive any likely future advancement for me at this agency."
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    Oct 08, 2015 6:15 PM GMT
    NO
    F-that
    Light EM Up


    so tired of the statuesque, ignoring horrible management.
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    Oct 09, 2015 1:16 AM GMT
    Sporty_G saidI have a new job and will be leaving one state agency and starting with a new one in 10 days.
    I have been with the agency for 15 years. My co-workers are some of the BEST, but, managers, policies and morale has been some of the WORST.
    The question is....do I just keep my opinions and experience at the agency to myself...the 'moral high ground" and let the managers "discover" what I did...OR unload both barrels over the issues that lead me to change jobs? It is VERY RARE to have anyone quit their job....and most stay well past their eligible retirement, until forced out. As normal for me, I am an "anomaly", the round block forced into a square hole....
    Thoughts or experiences with "exit interviews"/

    Waste of time. Always remember: The role of HR is to protect the company.

    If you really have something to say, then there are sites like Glassdoor.com where you can provide your honest constructive feedback anonymously.
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    Oct 09, 2015 3:24 PM GMT
    ^^^^^Wise advice above me here. Exit interviews are never the place to air grievances. I know some people want to have their say, especially if things did not go well during their employment. Don't do it. Just say something pleasant and bid them goodbye. Just the fact that you're leaving in and of itself is saying "F-You".
  • mar0302

    Posts: 273

    Oct 09, 2015 5:25 PM GMT
    So as someone that manages a pretty large group, I'd say be honest but not angry. Use facts to support what you say, and give examples if you can.

    The reality is that managers will have a good idea why you are leaving already, but this is your opportunity to make it known without being nasty about it.

    Try not to make it about people, unless it's clearly one person - in which case say it in a diplomatic way. Something like, the environment isn't the one in which I tend to thrive best - I prefer something with a bit more freedom to determine how I achieve the goals (eg; basically less micro-management), or somewhere that I feel like I will have better opportunities for growth (if you've been sidelined)... or if it's something akin to a blame culture or a bully situation - then it's okay to be honest as you're doing your colleagues a favour.

    A lot of organisations don't do exit interviews, but depending upon the circumstances I will ask HR to conduct one when someone leaves my team because I honestly want to know why they've chosen to leave. A good manager will want the answers - either to confirm something they already know, or to evaluate the reasons and see if it's something they can change in the future to make things better for everyone. The fact they've asked you for an exit interview means they want to know why people leave. In the end, they may just disregard the reasons you're leaving - which I may do if I feel like it's related to an individual but not the team - or they may want confirmation of something they already know in order to make changes - which has also happened when I've had them done.

    Regarding references, which I think everyone is nervous about generally - most large organizations won't give specific references on performance because they are worried about the repercussions. They'll normally just give roles, dates and salary. If you're in a very small organization then this potentially is more of a concern but I wouldn't worry about it if the organization is bigger and professional. Everyone knows that some people will succeed in one organization because of fit but may fail in another for exactly the same reason - a professional company or person would never use this against you.
  • oldfart

    Posts: 328

    Oct 09, 2015 7:11 PM GMT
    xrichx saidWaste of time. Always remember: The role of HR is to protect the company.

    The Exit Interview was designed by managers so that a) they can spot were they need to cover their legal asses and b) they can congratulate each other for pretending to learn something.

    Never burn bridges. Maybe offer a trivial token 'area for improvement.'

    (Pardon my skepticism but it's professional training - I'm an auditor.)
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    Oct 09, 2015 7:15 PM GMT
    HR wants to avoid repeating a scenario where they lose a talented employee. There's nothing to lose and everything to be gained by acting in good faith, and being honest about your grievances, as long as you focus on actual issues and avoid making it personal.
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    Oct 09, 2015 7:25 PM GMT
    HR is not your friend. HR will kill the messenger. HR exists to protect the company. After all, who pays them?

    Smile, thank them for the opportunity to work in that particular department, and move on to your new assignment.

    People in any work environment do not want to hear problems. You're just adding to their workload and worries. You're leaving the department. Ask yourself: What good is in it for me?
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    Oct 09, 2015 7:38 PM GMT
    Already same advise as others, and also there is nothing "human" in Human Resources, they are there to protect the company and organization, not the worker.

    When exiting I relate the facts to the organization very briefly and my reasons for leaving. It is best never to become personal or angry about it, nothing good will come out, in fact it may later be detrimental when you need to jump to another job and they need to check references.

    In reality most organizations already know what is wrong with them, but they just want to limit their collateral damage and what can be put in place to curtail litigation and not really solve the problem.

    Just hit the moral ground, also ask for a reference from your supervisor if you are in good standing or cordial basis and leave it like that.

    All the best in the new job.
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    Oct 09, 2015 8:39 PM GMT
    In order to be a successful supervisor or manager the person needs to be a positivist, in other words, the glass is half full, not half empty. (Terminology I'm using: a supervisor supervises worker bees, a manager supervises supervisors or managers.)

    As a result of this positivist attitude they very often don't identify their problem employees, regardless of whether it's a supervisor or worker bee. The people parallel to the problem employee are often well aware of them being a problem.

    So when you tell the supervisor or that supervisor's manager about a problem employee, in all likelihood they'll just see you as a negativist.
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    Oct 09, 2015 8:42 PM GMT
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    Oct 09, 2015 8:48 PM GMT
    You could always do a practice run with some random online forum. Try telling some poster what they've done wrong and see how that works for ya.

    for_entertainment_purposes_only_customiz
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    Oct 10, 2015 1:28 AM GMT
    I wouldnt do one, but probably a useful answer would be:


    Q: "Why do YOU think I am leaving?"


    A: I dont know

    R: Exactly, why ask now?

    or

    A: Is it because of X

    R: So how does it make you feel that you did nothing to help me?


    or


    A. What could we have done to have made your life here better?

    R: Not done this after I left perhaps?



    -smartass
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    Oct 10, 2015 1:44 AM GMT
    An exit interview does NOTHING for you. As Apparition has so aptly demonstrated. You are already leaving. I'd politely decline giving one.
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    Oct 10, 2015 1:59 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidIn order to be a successful supervisor or manager the person needs to be a positivist, in other words, the glass is half full, not half empty. (Terminology I'm using: a supervisor supervises worker bees, a manager supervises supervisors or managers.)

    As a result of this positivist attitude they very often don't identify their problem employees, regardless of whether it's a supervisor or worker bee. The people parallel to the problem employee are often well aware of them being a problem.

    So when you tell the supervisor or that supervisor's manager about a problem employee, in all likelihood they'll just see you as a negativist.

    This is sooo true in the corporate world. Even if your feedback is to help improve the environment, you will be viewed as a troublemaker if no one higher up is there to back you up.

    Unless you have "CEO" or "Director of" in your title, your feedback doesn't matter.
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    Oct 10, 2015 2:21 AM GMT
    I agree with the "not burning bridges" advice. For one thing, you haven't permanently established yourself on the "other side" yet. You may have to cross back over that old bridge if things don't work out.

    And if these are all state agencies, word may get around that you were bad-mouthing your old agency and bosses. Leading your new bosses to question your future organizational loyalty to them, as well.

    You want to portray yourself as a happy employee, not a disgruntled one, which your new managers will tend to interpret as being a troublemaker within their own organization. You got your new job, you're outta the old agency - let it go at that.
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    Oct 10, 2015 2:33 AM GMT
    If you're trying to be all "professional," I'd not slam them. It can't help you and it -might- hurt you.
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    Oct 10, 2015 2:56 AM GMT
    Be honest, yet professional.

    I'm in the process of finding another job and will most likely have to give an exit interview when I leave. As much as I would like to tear them a new one, it is immature and crude. Yet I fully intend to name names in a firm yet polite manner......icon_twisted.gif
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    Oct 10, 2015 3:55 AM GMT
    Chulomurder saidYet I fully intend to name names in a firm yet polite manner.

    Oh please, do you really expect us to believe that?   icon_eek.gif