When an employee’s tenure comes to an end we conduct exit interviews. This is an accepted practice – in fact, most would say that it’s a best practice. But when it comes to contingent workers, an exit interview can actually have damaging results.
An exit interview, by definition, marks the end of a relationship. As the worker departs, a typical interview includes a review of termination paperwork, a reminder to the worker of ongoing obligations regarding intellectual property protection and non-compete agreements, verification of the return of all company-owned assets, and a general discussion of satisfaction with the relationship from the vantage point of all parties. In many cases, the person conducting the exit interview merely checks the boxes needed to close out and file away the worker’s personnel data.
When a satisfactory temporary assignment comes to an end, smart companies recognize that the interview should sustain the relationship, not terminate it. Particularly in areas requiring scarce talent, companies should view contingent workers as extensions of their work population – individuals held in reserve until needed again. It took time and effort to find the worker in the first place; why repeat the process when you can be assured of tapping into that proven talent when needed? Each time the individual is re-engaged, the worker requires less time to be p
roductive. Conduct a worker transition interviewed that is structured to encourage redeployment.
As the interview is intended to serve a different purpose, it should be conducted as an introduction into the start of the next phase of the relationship. Specific points of discussion should include:
Consider an alumni management system in which workers who satisfactorily complete an engagement can maintain their profile, keep you up to date on their availability, and automatically be considered for positions that match their capabilities. If you have such a system in place, the interview should include an introduction to the system, and the benefits of participation should be emphasized.
Document the transition interview, and tie it to a continuous improvement feedback loop. Each interview can contribute to your understanding of your Company’s market reputation, and provide insights into ways to win when competing for scarce talent.
Now, as in all things, common sense must prevail. If the contingent worker prematurely is leaving the engagement, or if you are not satisfied with a worker’s performance, an exit interview (often accompanied by a “Do Not Rehire” notation in the worker’s file) is appropriate.
Has your company implemented an effective process for sustaining relationships with great temporary talent? Tell us about your program.
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