Shemekia Alexander on Compliance Exit Interviews [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

Exit interviews can be terrific sources of information for compliance teams, but how do you make the most of them? And do you need to be a part of all of them? That can be a very tough task in a large enterprise.

Shemekia Alexander, Director, Corporate Responsibility Officer of Mercy Health recommends focusing on live interviews with key individuals that are most likely to have insights into potential compliance issues. In her case, that includes compliance and legal personnel, the executive suite, revenue cycle staff and providers.

To get people to feel comfortable talking, she reaches out in advance to introduce herself and make the person comfortable with the process. Typically, she sends an email saying who she is, the purpose of the meeting and that it will be confidential. She also recommends that the departing employee, if the conversation will be via Zoom or a phone call, get to a place where they do not have to worry about being overheard.

During the interview she begins by explaining what she means by compliance since some are confused about what exactly compliance encompasses. She then asks several standard questions including:

  • Are you aware of any compliance concerns that should be addressed?
  • How you raised any compliance-related issues previously that have not been addressed?
  • Have you seen any associates engage in conduct that may be illegal or unethical?
  • How would you describe the organization’s compliance culture?
  • Is there anything else you would like to discuss?

The last, very broad questions, can be particularly helpful, opening the door for conversation.

As important as what the employees says can be how they are acting in the conversation.  She advises paying attention to their behavior: are they hesitant, disgruntled, scared, aggressive?

For those who are not interviewed face to face there are questions in an optional survey that HR provides to departing employees. Any issues raised there are forwarded to compliance.

It’s all a part of a team approach, and cultivating the team’s support is essential for success.

Listen in to learn more about how to turn an employee exit into a compliance opportunity.