Coffeepot Chatter: Exit Interviews

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Maria: Hey guys, did you go to Rick’s retirement reception yesterday?

Harry: Yeah, I’m really going to miss him. 

Tom: Me, too. Rick said he had an exit interview with HR. I was surprised by that. I thought exit interviews were only for people who weren’t happy with their job but Rick loved working here. 

Harry: Exit interviews aren’t just for people who aren’t satisfied with their jobs. In fact, the majority of employees who leave say that they would recommend Lehigh as a good place to work. Exit interviews are simply a way to provide your feedback on your job and working at Lehigh, whether positive or negative. 

Maria: I remember that in last year’s exit interview stats, the most common response to the best part of the job at Lehigh was the people. 

That makes sense:  I really enjoy that part of my job. That’s why I’m going to miss Rick so much. I wonder if he wants to go to lunch next week. 

When staff leave Lehigh for a new employer or retirement, Human Resources considers it a learning opportunity. It’s vital that HR hears from employees about what is succeeding and what they believe needs improvement in the university’s work environment. So, we hope that if you decide to leave Lehigh, you will participate in an exit interview. 

In addition, if you are moving within Lehigh from one position to another, it’s also a good time to share your thoughts. 

Of course, HR welcomes feedback from staff and faculty at any time. Don’t feel that you need to wait until you leave or transfer. If you’d like to discuss a concern or an idea for improving the work environment at Lehigh, feel free to contact the appropriate member of the HR team.

Below are some of the results of our Fiscal Year 2013 (July 1 2012 – June 30, 2013) exit interviews. Keep in mind that some questions may have fewer than 51 answers if respondents chose not to answer.




Comments and Open-Ended Questions

We’ve included here a selection of comments and answers to open-ended  questions. The figures in parentheses indicate how many employees gave the same answer. If there is no number, the answer was only conveyed by one or two staff members.

The best part of job at Lehigh was:
The people (28)
Working with students (8)
Working independently (3)
Work environment 
Opportunities [to broaden skills] 
Got to play many roles in job 

Suggestions for improving the university:
More diverse community 
More consistency across departments for processes/procedures 
More parking 
Better internal and institutional communication 
More space for staff 
Departments are isolated from one another 
Reviews of management team, management training 
Formalized “renew the supervisor” process 
Streamlining of processes 
More university wide collaboration 
Job rotation 
Email response regardless of level of position 
Less focus on job title and hierarchy 
More flexible options for employees using tuition benefit 
Better communication 
More occasions to have staff functions 
Bridging between different departments 
More transparency with classism issues 
Continue implementing technology
Assistance for those transitioning from student to young professional
Some departments need a department coordinator and an academic coordinator
More dialog amongst senior leadership
Help leadership allow employees to do the good work they were hired to do

Other comments:
Excellent benefits 
Thank Lehigh for hiring me/appreciated opportunity 
Supportive work environment, student population interesting and rewarding to work with 
Employees can “make their way” primarily at mid management level 
Provided with many opportunities 
Has been great 
Manager was phenomenal 
Enjoyed working with faculty, staff, students
Hard decision to retire 
Mixed emotions about leaving  
Sad that I had to make this decision and sad to leave 
More mentoring and succession planning 
Will miss interacting with people everyday 
Great students