Why interview when I know?

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I'm a solo practitioner with only three employees. Are exit interviews really necessary?

"Exit interviews are important for practices of any size," says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, a consultant for Brakke Consulting in Dallas. "You may know why your employee's leaving, but you still need to accomplish two things during the interview."

Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM

First, you need to deal with the practical details of ending the work relationship, says Dr. Felsted. "This includes getting back keys to the practice, completing any health insurance or other benefit forms necessary to end or transfer coverage, and delivering a final paycheck," she says. Dr. Felsted recommends using a checklist to make sure you don't forget anything.

Second, get some feedback from the employee about his or her experience in your practice. "Your goal is to get information that will help you make your practice more attractive to future employees," says Dr. Felsted. "The theory is that employees tend to be more frank during exit interviews, because they're no longer constrained by the fact that you sign the paycheck."

She says that while you don't always get useful information, you'll hit pay dirt often enough to make the exercise worth your time. Some questions to ask:

  • What did you like about your work?

  • What did you like least?

  • What could have been done differently to make this a better place to work?

  • Were the pay and benefits fair?

  • Were the hours reasonable?

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