The Importance of Seasonal Exit Interviews


Summer is on its way out, and so are your seasonal employees. While it’s tempting to take a shortcut and send them on their way with nothing more than a handshake, you’ll do your business a favor if you treat their departure the same as any other employee’s. That’s right, we’re talking exit interviews.

Sure, exit interviews are traditionally meant for full-time employees, but just because Jane only worked for you from April-August doesn’t mean she doesn’t have valuable insights about your operation.

Exit interviews provide two-way feedback for managers and employees. Not only are they a valuable resource for your employees to find areas of professional improvement, they also provide you with possible improvements to your operations. Because seasonal businesses hire and release team members regularly throughout the year, keeping tabs on how well you’re managing those people is essential to ensuring they come back.

Leaders cannot work in a vacuum. They may take on larger, seemingly more important roles in an organization, but this does not exclude them from asking for and using feedback. In fact, a leader arguably needs feedback more so than anyone else. 

This is your chance to hear what some of the main pain points are for your seasonal employees, and it’s your chance to fix those problems.

Of course, ongoing feedback should always be a component of your management, whether it’s from full or part time workers. When you demonstrate that you’re dedicated to constant evaluation and improvement, even the employees who didn’t have a great experience will be more likely to leave on friendly terms.

Which leads us to another value of exit interviews: conflict mitigation.

A common issue we’ve seen for service based companies is unhappy ex-employees taking out their frustration via online review channels such as Facebook, Glassdoor, and Indeed. Not only can this make you look bad to your customers, it can have a disastrous impact on your ability to hire new team members.

Discussing conflict with employees is one of the hardest parts of management, but it’s also one of the most beneficial. Making an unhappy teammate feel heard is the quickest way to calm their nerves. And giving them the chance to air their frustrations can mean the difference between keeping it within your company walls and seeing it plastered all over the internet.

Come prepared! Here are a few examples of questions to ask in your exit interview:

  1. What did you like most about your job?
  2. What would you change about your job, your team, or the company as a whole?
  3. Were you given the tools to succeed at your job?
  4. Were you comfortable talking to your manager about work problems?
  5. Did you feel you were kept up to date on new developments and company policies?
  6. If you had a friend looking for a job, would you recommend us? Why or why not?
  7. Are there any other unresolved issues or additional comments?

If the interview and your overall experience with that worker goes well, remind them to reapply the following season. And consider offering incentives for them to refer their friends.

No matter what, once you have the feedback, use it. Don’t write it down and shove it into a drawer never to be seen again. By performing these interviews at the close of each season, you will begin pinpointing feedback trends. Use that information to make a plan for positive change within your company. After all, happy employees means happier customers and a more successful business.