In Praise of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are a great way to learn ways your work can be better. When people who have worked with you move on, always do an exit interview.

I spent yesterday morning in a succession of one-on-one sessions with our outgoing Urban Youth Mission staff, who, as I have said, are awesome. There wasn’t a lot of time allotted to each one, so we had to be direct: what worked for you and what didn’t?

I learned that enlisting congregation members to help support summer staff by inviting them to dinner on their nights off works. Big time. The housing mostly works. All the public transit works. The changes we made to this year’s schedule worked. Including a professional coach from the church community to work with staff individually and as a team works.

Not everything works well now, though. Giving the daily devotional leadership to summer staff didn’t really work, or at least it didn’t work as well as when I or another member of the church’s pastoral staff did that, as last year. “Keynote” addresses that are more facts than faith reflection aren’t really soaring either. The food situation can work better; constant complaints from youth about bland stir fry wear staff down.

Where is the fun in having nothing to improve? That’s why I love doing exit interviews.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until someone leaves to get better.

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