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As a HR manager, a leaver comes with a lot of paperwork and expenses for their replacement, but many forget that a leaver still offers value to a company. Treating an employee with respect and decency in their last few months with you will ensure a smooth handover, credible feedback on the firm and processes and ultimately improve staff retention and firm methods.

Most firms see exit interviews as a tick box exercise, and many will either not follow through with them or do anything with the feedback garnered; but it is so important to have a formal process in place for those who hand their notice in and should include an exit interview procedure, feedback options and timings to suit the employee.

An exit strategy should include which activities your firm undertakes, the key questions you want answers to and how you want to conduct the exit interview – when, where and how. Be sure to use the opportunity to ask questions about the culture, management style, employee conflict or better alternative packages being offered to the leaver. All are contributions, which if used in the right way, can make your employer brand much stronger.

A really powerful part of an exit process is the intel you gain on management and culture. If a pattern begins to form, with team members dispersing from the same department, for example, exercises such as anonymous feedback forms will allow you to identify patterns and issues with those departing. Anonymity allows for more honesty and gives people a different medium to communicate with the HR team. A client of ours found that upon rolling out anonymous questionnaires to leavers they were able to identify changes needed to management styles and approaches across different teams.

Of course, there’s power in collecting this information, but lack of analysis will just result in powerful and helpful data sat collecting dust in drawers and inboxes. It’s important that your team sets triggers to identify trends with leavers, and that regularly examination of results takes place. Be sure to share your findings with those who can make a difference with it, and keep it at the forefront by introducing regular updates to team email blasts and manager meetings.

By sharing leaver's thoughts and feelings, you allow for improvements to be made across the firm, including creating a more open culture, addressing concerns and improving benefits. This will ultimately improve the work environment for your existing employees, increasing your employee retention and employer brand. 

Exit interviews will also help shape your relationship with your recruitment agency. They will find the gaps between what employees expect from a role and what the role actually is, meaning improved communications on what your firm can offer, what your firm needs, how the job description should be presented and the candidate type you’re looking for.

If you’re not sure where to start with your exit strategy, our team will be happy to help, just get in touch.

LR Legal is a bespoke recruitment agency, offering a comprehensive service for law firms and businesses, across all sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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