X-19 Employee Separation and Exit Interview Procedure

NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
Employee Separation and Exit Interview Procedure

I. Purpose and Scope: This procedure outlines the process to be followed for exiting employment for full time and part-time faculty, non-faculty, unclassified, classified, graduate assistant and "wages of labor" employees. Refer to the Student Employment procedure in section X-27 of this manual for student employment separation and exit procedure.

II. Reference: . State of Louisiana Personnel Manual
. Civil Service Rules & Regulations
. Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System

OVERVIEW

When an employee is voluntarily or involuntarily exiting employment at the University, Business Affairs - Human Resource Section and Information Systems should be notified as soon as separation occurs. The prescribed procedures for exiting employment at Northwestern State University should be followed by all personnel.

When an employee gives notice of separation or is terminated, his/her supervisor is responsible for:

A. Recovering university owned articles or equipment such as keys, cameras, computers, etc.

B. Conducting an exit interview and preparing a complete written report of the employee's reason for separation. The separation form found at the end of this section will be used for writing this report.

C. Preparation of the Employee Separation, Supervisor Section of the Employee Separation Notice and Exit Interview Report is forwarded to Business Affairs - Human Resource Section for completion of the exit interview.

D. Informing Information Systems Director of employees who are immediately terminated or will be on extended leave prior to termination of employment or on approved extended leave, so their access can be immediately denied upon the effective date of the termination or leave. Employees on leave in excess of two weeks shall have their access denied.

EMPLOYEE SEPARATION NOTICE

When an employee is voluntarily or involuntarily exiting employment at the university, Business Affairs - Human Resources Section and Information Systems should be notified as soon as the separation is known.

It is the responsibility of the Budget Unit Head/Supervisor to complete the appropriate separation notice (Attachment #1 and #2) listed below and fax, mail or deliver to Business Affairs - Human Resource Section and Information Systems Director. Notice given by telephone should be followed by the Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report with appropriate signatures to Human Resources and the Computer Access Change in Employment Status Memo to Information Systems.

The Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report (Attachment #1), is designed to notify Human Resources immediately to avoid payment of employees that have or are separating from employment, and to put Human Resources personnel on notice. This form has been designed to be the employee's resignation (separation form and the University's exit interview and separation form.

The Computer Access - Change in Employment Status Memo (Attachment #2) is designed to notify Information Systems of separations so they may review system authorizations to see if the user has system access that needs to be deleted.

NOTE: Human Resources will issue a "Computer Security Weekly Memo" to the following employees and departments: President, Vice President, Executive Assistant to the President, Library, Registrar, Financial Aid, Environmental Health and Safety Officer, EEO Office, and the Business Affairs Accounts Payable Travel Section, Grants and Contract Accounting Section, Computer Support Section, Payroll Section, Restricted Accounts Manager, Position Control and Assistant Controller.

EXIT INTERVIEW

An Exit Interview should be conducted for all employees to assure that the employee has returned to the university all university owned articles or equipment such as keys, cameras, computers, etc. It is the responsibility of the employee's supervisor/Budget Unit Head to ensure all university owned articles/equipment, all debts, cash advances, etc., owed to the university are collected and inform employee to cancel any credit cards/travel cards issued to the employee.

Employee Exit Interview Conducted by Budget Unit Head or Supervisor

When an employee gives notice of separation or is terminated, his/her supervisor is responsible for:

1. Recovering university owned articles or equipment, such as keys, ID cards, etc.

2. Conducting an exit interview and preparing the Employee Separation and Supervisory Signatures sections of the Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report prior to forwarding it to Business Affairs - Human Resources for completion of the Exit Interview.

3. Informing the Information Systems Director of employees who are immediately terminated, will be on extended leave prior to termination of employment, or on approved extended leave so their access can be immediately denied on the employees effective date of separation or leave by submitting the Computer Access - Change in Employment Status Memo.

If any information has been given in confidence, or if the employee has not given permission to be identified with their comments, the information should not be entered on the form. However, the interviewer (Budget Unit Head or Supervisor) should use judgment in forwarding significant information to appropriate officials.

In many cases the Dean/Division Head and/or Vice President may conduct an interview with the employee. This should be encouraged and be done when schedules can accommodate the process.

In addition to assuring university property is returned and all access to university property ceases, valuable information is collected during the process that may be of value to the university in assessing and controlling employee turnover.

The U.S. Department of Labor has identified some causes of employee turnover. A list of causes identified follows:

1. Inadequate selection and assignment methods may cause unrest and dissatisfaction among new workers. Workers may be placed on jobs which are too difficult for them, or their skills may be underutilized. In either case, new workers may become demoralized and quit in the hope of obtaining more suitable employment elsewhere.

2. Inadequate information about the jobs or the requirements of the workers needed to fill jobs satisfactorily may result in the hiring of underqualified or overqualified workers. Under these circumstances, workers may become discouraged and quit.

3. Unsatisfactory working conditions or surroundings may discourage new workers, unless adequate compensation is made to offset these conditions and a full explanation is given to a new worker when he is hired.

4. Lack of opportunity for advancement through seniority or otherwise may result in "gripes" and dissatisfaction which simmer in a workers mind until he finally decides to quit. In the case of jobs having no real future, a full explanation should be given applicants before they are hired.

5. Inadequate or poor supervision is a frequent cause of turnover. Workers need guidance, especially when they are new on the job, and lack of good supervision at this time often results in termination.

6. An inadequate or unsound wage classification structure may cause dissatisfaction and result in terminations. A new worker often wonders why he is getting less money than an associate worker who is apparently doing the same work.

7. Lack of well-organized training program may result in the loss of workers. If they are not properly trained in their new work, they may think they are not progressing rapidly enough and that advancement is slow.

8. Ineffective grievance procedures or delays in acting upon grievances often result in terminations of employment.

9. The lack of in-plant facilities and services designed primarily for women workers, such as proper rest rooms, eating facilities, rest periods, and other health and safety provisions, as well as the lack of adequate community facilities (child-care, shopping, laundry, etc.) are major causes for turnover and absenteeism among the women in the work force. Most women have dual responsibilities - one for the job and one for the home - and these matters should be given due consideration by management in dealing with the women workers.

10. Inadequate community facilities, such as housing, shopping, banking, and recreation, are causes of turnover among both men and women workers. This is especially true of in-migrants who usually quit soon after they are hired if they are unable to obtain proper housing for themselves and their families. They usually return home and are lost to the community as well as to the employers where they were employed.

The exit interview should be designed to determine the causes of the separation.

The Department of Civil Service, through the State of Louisiana Personnel Manual, encourages each agency to provide for an exit interview program. The following is provided from the State of Louisiana Personnel Manual for Budget Unit Heads and Supervisors to assist in the exit interview process.

EXIT INTERVIEW PROGRAM

REASONS FOR EXIT INTERVIEW PROGRAM

1. It is good public relations to be interested in every employee who is leaving the agency. Each departing employee continues to have an important relationship as a citizen and a taxpayer to the public service. Every employee who leaves an agency has a neighbor, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. In conversations with them, he may talk in some detail, or at least make a casual comment or two about his experience as a public servant. Even one departing employee who leaves with incorrect information or a negative attitude towards an agency and the state service can do a lot of damage. He can build up misconceptions about the public service and dissuade people from accepting state employment. An exit interview, properly conducted, can correct misinformation and modify negative attitudes.

2. It is good employee relations to let the employee know that the agency is interested in him and his future plans. The exit interview should be adapted to the need of the individual employee who is leaving. In every instance, the interviewer should be sure that the employee has all the information he needs relating to his work and conditions of employment. The interviewer's responsibility is not limited to supplying information which is specifically requested. He should ascertain that the departing employee is correctly informed on such matters as retirement benefits, insurance, questions regarding leave, re-employment rights, etc. The interviewer should use his judgement as to which subjects to cover, the need for information varies with each employee and the type of separation.

It is also important for an employee with a grievance, be it real or fancied, to have an opportunity to "get it off his chest" as it is obviously preferable for him to do so within the agency than elsewhere.

3. The exit interview is one of the best tools management has to gain insight into its own operations and to improve its personnel policies. For example, exit interviews can reduce turnover. They do this, not by dissuading employees who have decided to leave, but by furnishing data to management about the causes of turnover.

COVERAGE

Everyone who is separating from the employment of the university, regardless of his length of service in his division or the circumstances of his separation, should be interviewed. This means that every employee whether he leaves by resignation, transfer, retirement, layoff, termination of appointment, or removal for cause, should have an exit interview. However, in trying to get 100% coverage, some discretion and judgement must be exercised. There may be occasional instances when it will be inadvisable to have an employee come in for an interview (for instance, if he is on leave and it is inconvenient for him to return to the office, or if he is leaving under emergency circumstances). One of the main purposes of the interview--the building of good will--would be defeated.

There is something to be learned from every employee who leaves the agency. If the employee has been with us only a short time, because of the recency of his experience, his reactions to procedures such as recruiting and orientation may be of interest. If the employee is retiring after a long career, his opinions about career development, appeals procedures, etc. can be of particular value. The reasons given by an employee who is transferring to another agency are of special significance, as are his feelings about returning to the agency. (This is a point which should be carefully explored in an exit interview.)

Exit interviews should be conducted with employees who are leaving involuntarily. The interviewer can be of assistance in seeing that they have the proper information regarding unemployment insurance, retirement benefits, eligibility for re-employment, etc. The public relations factor in these cases is especially important. In addition, these employees, whether they are being separated through layoff, termination of appointment, or removal for cause, undoubtedly have opinions about their work experience. Such information can be very useful to management.

LOCATION OF EXIT INTERVIEWS

Exit interviews may be conducted by the Budget Unit Head or Supervisor.

Prior to the exit interview stage, the employee will usually talk with the supervisor concerning his intention of leaving. It is at this pre-exit interview stage that many good employees can be retained with the proper advise from the supervisor. For instance, a leave of absence might be suggested to a valuable experienced employee who is resigning to care for a sick relative or to tend to other personal business of a temporary nature. In the case of a satisfactory employee who is planning to leave to seek work which would utilize his recently acquired additional skills, a referral might be made to the Human Resources staff for possible reassignment elsewhere in the organization where there is a need for those skills or directs to another Budget Unit Head. It should be emphasized that an effective supervisor will not wait until a good employee begins to look for a job elsewhere or talks about leaving, to take steps to retain his services. The supervisor should know his employees as individuals and be interested in their proper placement and advancement. As soon as he becomes aware of the fact that a satisfactory employee may not want to remain in his job, he should take action to retain the employee. He should know that there is a wide range of factors which cause an employee to want to change jobs (i.e. health and other personal reasons, changes in the job itself, increased skills or knowledge acquired by the employee, to mention a few). When the employee has made his decision to leave, he and the supervisor decide on the effective date. This employee-supervisor discussion does not take the place of, or duplicate, the exit interview. After the date of separation has been agreed upon, Business Affairs - Human Resources Section should be notified and an appointment made to complete the exit interview.

TIME OF EXIT INTERVIEW

The exit interview should be scheduled as soon after the employee has officially advised the agency that he will leave. An important factor to keep in mind is the greater cooperation on the part of the employee is usually obtained if the interview is scheduled at his convenience. Some employees may want to come in as soon as they have reached the decision to leave while others prefer to postpone their exit interview until later. The interviewer should be guided, insofar as practicable, by the employee's preference as to the time of the interview.

The Budget Unit Head should at this point complete the Notice of Separation & Exit Interview Report form and forward to Business Affairs - Human Resources Section and Information Systems Director.

HOW SHOULD THE EXIT INTERVIEW BE CONDUCTED?

The techniques and guidelines which are accepted as standard interviewing principles apply to the exit interview.

A good interviewer is mature (and this is not a matter of chronological age), he has poise and commands respect, he is courteous and alert. He does not allow his own biases and prejudices to effect the response he gets from the person interviewed or his own appraisal of the factual evidence presented. He knows what he wants to accomplish in the interview and he proceeds according to a plan. However, he is always alert to the need for changing his procedures and he handles each case on an individual basis. He understands human behavior and has a sincere interest in people.

The following summary of principles for interviewing is provided as a check list for the exit interviewer:

1. Prepare for the interview. Review the employee's employment record prior to the interview. This background information can be helpful in "breaking the ice". It also helps to establish confidence if the employee feels that you know something about him -- how long he has been in the agency, the kind of work he had done, etc. A check with the employee's supervisor should also be made prior to the interview.

2. Provide for privacy. This doesn't necessarily mean a private office. If you are in a room with other people your desk should be placed so that neither you nor the employee are interrupted or distracted by activities in the room, and so that your conversation is not audible to the other occupants.

3. Open the interview in a friendly way to put employee at ease. If you and employee are both relaxed and can assume a natural conversational attitude there will be a freer exchange of ideas. The ordinary rules of good manners should be observed such as greeting the employee by name, perhaps shaking hands, if this seems natural, followed by one or two casual, friendly remarks. A friendly, informal relationship should be established and tension relieved before trying to proceed with the interview.

4. Tell the employee briefly the purpose of the interview. Let the employee know that the agency is interested in his future plans, his reasons for making a change and his evaluation of his work experience here. Tell him that the agency also wants him to have any information he needs before leaving. This phase of the interview often makes a good starting point.

5. Treat the employee as a conversational equal. Even though you may know more about the subject under discussion than the employee, never lecture or talk down to him. (Remember, too, that in the agency there may be occasions when the employee, because of his work, may be better informed on some technicalities. For instance, how long it will take to obtain a refund of his retirement deductions, what eligibility he has for reinstatement to examination registers, etc.)

6. Use language that the employee can understand. Technical terms should be avoided. When giving instructions or information, be sure that what you are saying is clear and not likely to be misinterpreted.

7. Show an interest in what the employee has to say. Give the employee your undivided attention. Arrange your interview so that nothing will interrupt. Have someone else cover your phone during the interview.

8. Phrase questions to encourage the employee to talk or to clarify a statement. Questions that can be answered by "yes" or "no" tend to block the flow of easy conversation. "How have you enjoyed your work?" or, "What do you like best about your work?" is better than, "Did you enjoy your work?", as the answer is an expression of ideas and attitudes and will not require a second question. Sometimes a direct statement such as, "I'm interested in hearing what you think of the promotion policy", instead of "Do you think the promotion policy is fair?" can be used effectively.

9. Avoid the semblance of cross examination. Questions should not be fired at the employee in rapid succession.

10. Answers to questions should not be implied. In order to obtain an unbiased answer, a question should be phrased, "How does the responsibility in your new job compare with your work here?", rather than, "You will probably have much more responsibility in your new job won't you?"

11. Remember the importance of listening. The employee should have the opportunity to talk about himself, his job, his plans for the future. Your ability to listen is essential to a successful interview.

12. Never bluff. Be absolutely sure of information you give. If you are not sure, admit it. The employee will have more confidence than if you try to cover up with vague generalities. If information is available elsewhere the employee should be referred to the proper source, or you should offer to obtain it for him -- and keep your word.

13. Keep control of the interview without appearing to dominate. The exit interview is a friendly, purposeful guided exchange of information. You know the objective or purpose of the interview and control is the straight road toward accomplishing the objective. The control rests on your ability to guide and direct the conversation by exercising skill in phrasing questions and in making appropriate remarks. There are tactful ways to get back on the subject if the employee is inclined to get off the track. The interview has a purpose and is not a social visit.

14. Be aware of your own attitudes, feelings and prejudices. All of us have prejudices for and against things -- likes, dislikes and preferences are natural human traits. A skillful interviewer has understanding tolerance. He recognizes his own biases and does not allow them in affect his relationship or his objective judgement.

15. Face facts objectively and professionally. Never express shock, surprise or displeasure at disclosures or statements of the employee.

16. Do not argue. If the employee is misinformed about a policy or procedure, try a tactful explanation but don't argue.

17. Be careful about note taking. A skillful interviewer makes few notes except mental ones during the interview. However, there are occasions when it is advisable to write down information in the interview, and it can be done so that it helps rather than hinders the interview. An employee may become suspicious and guard his comments, if without any explanation, you begin to make notes in the corner of your desk where the employee can't see what's being written down. It's much better to say "I'm jotting down some notes on what you're telling me, so as to keep it accurate", and not attempt to hide what you're doing. Only facts should be written down -- dates, positions, duties, organizational set-up, etc. After the employee has left, you can complete the notes by adding personal observations and evaluations.

18. Maintain an efficient, business-like atmosphere. The proper physical setting, the neat appearance of your desk, the orderly arrangement of reference material all affect the interview. Forms and reference material should be readily available.

19. Closing the interview properly is important. The interview should be closed in a friendly, courteous, and tactful manner, with the usual social amenities which close a visit. In those rare instances where an employee is not inclined to leave and wants to prolong the interview unnecessarily, you may remind him of another appointment, or it may be helpful to stand and take a few steps toward the door.

20. Do not overlook comments made after the interview is closed. Sometimes after the interview is over, a very significant remark is made. This can add materially to a proper evaluation of the information given during the interview.

COMPLETION OF EMPLOYEE SEPARATION AND EXIT INTERVIEW REPORT

The interviewer/Budget Unit Head or Designee and employee should complete the Employee Separation and Exit Interview Report (Attachment #1). If any information has been given in confidence, or if the employee has not given permission to be identified with his comments, the information should not be entered on the form. However, the interviewer should use his judgement in forwarding significant information to appropriate officials.

EMPLOYEE SEPARATION AND EXIT INTERVIEW REPORT

The Employee Separation and Exit Interview Report has been designed to be the employee's resignation (separation) form and the university's exit interview and separation form. The Budget Unit Head and each higher level of review should make appropriate copies for their files.

The exit interview process is completed when the employee is interviewed by the Human Resources staff. The Budget Unit Head/Supervisor should assist the employee in scheduling an exit interview appointment. Valuable employee information concerning retirement benefits insurance, leave balances, separation pay, reemployment, etc., is reviewed in the Human Resources interview. To avoid problems at separation the employee should attend this interview to properly complete the process.

If an employee does not attend the Human Resources interview, the Budget Unit Head must provide a copy of his Employee Separation and Exit Interview Report to the Human Resources staff so the exit process can be completed.

In many cases the Dean/Division Head and/or Vice President may conduct an interview with the employee. This should be encouraged and be done when schedules can accommodate the process. Space is provided on the Employee Separation and Exit Interview Report these levels of review when they occur.


III. Procedure:

 
Employee Separation Notice

Budget Unit Head/Supervisor

1. Completes Employee Separation and Supervisor Sections of the Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report (Attachment #1) when an employee notifies the University of their intent to separate employment or is terminated. Forwards completed form to Business Affairs - Human Resource Section.

2. Completes Computer Access - Change in Employment Status form (Attachment #2) and forwards to Information Systems.

NOTE: The Budget Unit Head/Supervisor must notify Information Systems if the employee is going to be on some type of approved leave prior to the actual effective date of termination. Employees who are on leave in excess of 2 weeks shall have their access denied. Employees who are on extended leave prior to termination of employment shall have their access immediately denied upon the effective date of the leave.

3. If notice of separation/termination is given to Business Affairs - Human Resource Section and/or Information Systems by telephone, submits form by Fax, mail or hand delivery.

Business Affairs - Human Resource Section

4. Receives Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report and begins reviewing records to prepare for exit interview and separation of employee. Issues Daily Computer Security Memo to notify Information Systems and the Vice President's of the employee's separation.

NOTE: Business Affairs - Human Resource Section also issues a Computer/Security Weekly Memo to the following employees and departments: President, Vice Presidents, Executive Assistant to the President, Library, Registrar, Financial Aid, Environmental Health & Safety Officer, EEO Office, and the Business Affairs Accounts Payable, Travel Section, Grants and Contract Accounting Section, Computer Support Section, Payroll Section, Restricted Accounts Manager, Position Control and Assistant Controller.

Information Systems

5. Receives Computer Access - Change in Employment Status Memo from the Budget Unit Head/Supervisor and begins reviewing system authorizations to see if user has system access that needs to be deleted. 

Employee Separation and Exit Interview Report

Budget Unit Head or Supervisor

1. Conducts exit interview with employee.

2. Completes appropriate sections of Employee Separation Notice and Exit Interview Report (Attachment #1).

Employee

3. Completes appropriate sections of Employee Separation Notice and Exit Interview Report. (Attachment #1).

Budget Unit Head or Supervisor

4. Contacts appropriate officer(s) to schedule an interview with employee (if applicable).

Appropriate Officer(s)

5. Conducts interview. Completes Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report (if applicable) (Attachment #1).

Budget Unit Head or Supervisor

6. Schedules exit interview with Human Resources staff.

Business Affairs - Human Resource Section

7. Conducts exit interview. Reviews appropriate information and materials. Completes appropriate forms associated with employee's separation.

Completes Human Resources Section of the Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report (Attachment #1).

Employee

8. Completes Employee Separation Notice & Exit Interview Report (Attachment #1) and other forms, documents, etc., associated with separation.

Business Affairs - Human Resource Section

9. Completes process. Files Employee Separation Notice and Exit Interview Report and other forms in employee's personnel file.

Employee on Extended Leave

Budget Unit Head/Supervisor

1. Notifies Information Systems Director by Computer Access - Change in Employment Status (Attachment #2), with a copy sent to Business Affairs - Human Resource Section, that the employee is/will on extended leave giving the date leave commences.

2. Requests computer access through established procedures after termination of leave.

Employee Separation Notice Form

Computer Access - change in employee status form