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Coffeepot Chatter: Exit Interviews

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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

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to, or call extension 85165.

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