Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Harvesting Knowledge: the exit interview

An information profession topic that is of great interest to me is knowledge retention and one about I would like to spend more time reading and thinking (Time to Think). I wrote my Diploma in Management extended essay on the topic, focussing specifically on situations of forced redundancy (with all of the additional complexities of motivation), and have been hooked on it since (helped that I aced the paper). Anyway, I now read pretty much any article that I find on the subject – especially if they pertain to redundancy situations as writing on this subject is very sparse (the focus tends to be on retirement – perfectly understandable given the developed world’s current demographics and the challenges that presents to the commercial world).

Anyway, I stumbled across an article called “Acing the Exit Interview: How to mine the data in your workers’ heads before the best ideas walk out the door”. It’s pretty brief but makes some good suggestions for getting the most out of an exit interview – something that applies regardless of the conditions under which an individual is leaving the organisation. It basically advised that:
  • the right people conduct the interview
  • you concentrate on particular employees
  • the output is readily available to users
I think that this last one particularly important but the article (perhaps due to length constraints?) misses the point of tailoring that method of making the material available to the users who require it – interactive software may be a more engaging format but if the end users really need a checklist, give them a checklist!

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