Fiona Passantino, late August 2023
Who has time for the offboarding ritual of employee knowledge transfer, contact collection and the all-important exit interview? Surely not the overworked HRBP with a looming annual re-org to hire for in Q3. And it’s also… icky. Who wants to talk to a soon-to-be ex? The AI-Powered HR professional has a jetpack, provided he understands how to use the tools. Whether someone left by choice or by force, using AI to augment our off-boarding process has benefits for all involved.
AI and Offboarding
As employees exit the company, for whatever reason, there is the exit interview. Before this ritual takes place, however, we require a standardised process of employee knowledge transfer.
This means, we take stock of what the departing employee know, what valuable relationships they have built up with the outside world (customers, suppliers, partners), what processes they have improved during their time at the firm and what documents they added to the collective knowledge base.
Making a point of intentionally harvesting this information from every departing employee does two things; practically, it captures the value of the departing Human’s efforts for the benefit of the company and it validates the employee’s time spent.
Nothing is more demoralising than the idea that we have wasted a portion of our life at a company, whether we were there six months or six years, “chi” (our life energy) is chi. This colours our impression of a place, and softens our feelings about a place just in time for the exit interview. But which busy HR intern has time for all this, when there’s a massive, annual re-org to plan with 50 seats to fill for the next quarter?
An AI-powered HRBP, however, is fed an AI-powered Employee Knowledge Capture System which acts in compliance with company regulations and internal documentation processes, making it easier to manage paperwork, privacy and platform.
Contacts? Processes? Documents, videos, flowcharts that can be fed straight into the library for the training team to pick up and transform into onboarding material? Done.
Collecting the “parting statement” of each employee, where they are asked what they are most proud of, what they left behind for the company, that only their successor can truly understand, translated into a welcome document for the new guy?
The “ten things I wish I knew on my first day in this job” boiled down into a short, friendly list? Done.
An AI-powered offboarding plan can be customised down to the individual employee, and can even collect this information in the departed’s native language, and translated back again into the company’s operating language.
Based on an employee’s role, tenure, and responsibilities, this attention to detail ensures a smooth transition for both the employee and the company.
And it feels and looks… good. Catnip for job interview answers and employer marketing posts. The exiting employee has a new datapoint which shapes his opinion ahead of the exit interview.
AI and the Exit Interview
The exit interview is the one opportunity we have to truly learn why things didn’t work out for a soon-to-be leaver. Imagine if we had this data for every failed relationship, every ghosted date, how rich we would be in knowledge and understanding? But amazingly, many companies take a pass on this ritual, which remains a gold mine for insight into what’s right and what’s wrong with company culture.
Worse, companies often partially collect leaver sentiment, cherry picking who’s a good source and who’s not, based on tenure, reasons for leaving or status, which leaves HR managers with heavily skewed data, showing only that everything’s fine, and “there’s nothing to see here”.
In truth, the news isn’t always bad. In the typical systematic exit interview, 63% of leavers rate their employer as “very good” or “excellent”, and 66% rate their supervisor similarly[i].
These are not disgruntled employees with an axe to grind but experts in the employee experience of the company they were just in, able to share valuable information with the inside world if it’s listening, the outside world if it’s not.
AI-powered interviews can gather this feedback quickly and systematically, starting with an automated bot process and feeding into a short Human interview with an AI stenographer, making sure the gold nuggets of I-don’t-give-a-damn-anymore sentiment we typically find in the “comments” section, is processed in an efficient and actionable way.
The truth is, how a company does one thing is how it does everything. Relentlessly gathering employee feedback at every stage of an employee’s lifecycle says more about company culture than the statements on the wall or the 360 on the books.
And having a parting employee leave with a positive view of their experience of a place sets the stage for a Boomerang (which may or may not be desirable but there is no requirement to re-hire), and/or a primed talent pool fed with a good Glassdoor review.
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About Fiona Passantino
Fiona is a Culture, Engagement and Communications expert, helping teams and leaders engage, inspire and connect their teams through her company Executive Storylines. She is a speaker, facilitator, trainer, executive coach, podcaster blogger, YouTuber and the author of the Comic Books for Executives series. She also has a weekly radio show on Den Haag 92 FM on the Future of Work.
[i] Mahan (2022) “Why Exit Interviews are Critical to Employee Retention” Work Institute. Accessed July 21, 2023. https://workinstitute.com/why-exit-interviews-are-critical-to-employee-retention/
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