Only half of Fortune 500 companies say their organization does a good job with the information gained through employee surveys to make positive change.  Is your agency using the employee surveys it conducts to improve the way it manages employees or produces results for taxpayers?  If not, it is missing a major opportunity for improvement.


One of the most common surveys conducted is the exit interview.  This is also one of the surveys most likely to yield major organizational challenges that otherwise go unreported.  This is true for two reasons. First, employees who have witnessed or experienced fraud or abuse are much more likely to leave the organization.  The behavior is demoralizing to honest, committed employees, which is one of the many reasons that IGs are entrusted to reduce bad behavior in organizations.

The second reason exit interviews are a great way to learn about misbehavior or failed processes is that employees are more candid when they’re on the way out the door.  They believe they are less susceptible to retaliation and will not have to live with the consequences of the investigation which may include greater scrutiny or resentment that someone “outed” the perpetrator.

What makes a great exit interview?  One of the most important characteristics of a good exit interview process is that success is measured by the change caused by interviews.  If the process is followed perfectly, but nothing is ever done with the findings, the exit interview process is still a failure.

Harvard Business Review details some other characteristics of effective exit interviews.  The questions should uncover any HR issues, help the organization to understand managers’ leadership styles, and provide a picture into employees’ perceptions of their own work.  The questions and the process should be designed to maximize the value of the answers, which means that the exiting employee should be comfortable providing truthful opinions at the time of the interview.  Many agencies conduct exit interviews after the employee has left the organization, to ensure they don’t feel pressured to minimize their dissatisfaction while they’re still finishing out their last days.

If you do not currently have access to the exit interviews with agency employees, you should make a strong push to get access as a way to increase your opportunities to uncover fraud, waste and abuse. If your agency does not currently conduct exit interviews, you may want to start the push to do so. It’s not like you need another thing to do, but you may even want to request ownership of the process.

To learn how CMTS can help your agency gain more tips and close more cases, call us at 919.600.5102 or emails us at