Last impressions count, too

Posted in Best Practice

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We’ve all been there. You’re about to leave a company that you’ve spent the last few years of your life working for. Surely there’s a process in place to bid you a fond farewell, you think to yourself, while you try to understand who you should return your laptop to.

With only 37% of organisations stating that they have an offboarding process, there is so much room to become a great leader in this space. Why not place yourself miles in front of the competition? This is powerful when thinking from a candidate referral perspective, as well as from a ‘boomerang employee’ point of view (those employees who return to your company after having another career in-between).

The experience that an employee goes through when they are leaving an organisation is just as important as when you onboard them into your organisation, here’s why.

People talk

Remember all of the social shares that occurred when that last new hire started and shared their photos of the balloons and the welcome card they received? Why not have a similar great marketing moment for your company by having a successful offboarding experience?

The social impact of a bad farewell can often be very corrosive for people within and outside a company if the person leaving receives a negative experience when departing. It’s human nature for people to share negative experiences more often than they share positive ones.

Creating brand ambassadors

No one knows as much about the inner workings as a former employee... the culture, the values and what makes the company tick. Rather than having an ex-employee want to use this knowledge in a negative way, think about the potential this could create for future company partnerships instead, like sales prospects, and many other benefits to help your business grow. As we all know, relationships really matter!

What are some successful offboarding strategies?

One of the biggest and easiest ways to maintain engagement is to think of employees who have left the business as alumni, rather than ex-employees. Building alumni networks is a fantastic way to give employees a way to still feel connected with the business and have them leave with a positive mentality - knowing that the business has taken time to show that they truly value the relationship. If you don’t have a personal email or phone number, why not invite them to an alumni-LinkedIn group just before they have left the business?

Having an actual timeline of activities to be completed once an employee hands in their resignation is another way to create a positive and consistent offboarding experience. Ensuring that the departing employee knows in advance what to expect and that all concerned departments are clear of their roles, means that there is nothing lost in translation. Many of our clients are using our system to schedule events just for this situation.

Make sure that the exit interview happens… and not necessarily on their last day. Exit interviews are a fantastic way for an employee to share both positive and negative experience, yet they often fail to occur. We find that this is often due to an interview being scheduled on the last day of employment (which we know is often manic!). Putting time aside to get feedback is often very beneficial for gaining insight and can be used to change internal processes for the better.

Most importantly, don’t make the employee feel like an outcast when they announce their resignation. They are still an employee, they are not a traitor, they are simply embarking on the next journey in their career. Through maintaining a consistent voice throughout the process, you can guarantee that the final perceptions that the employee has of your company will equally match the rest of their time with you. Hopefully, this will simply lead to your company broadening their network for opportunities instead of losing a valuable employee and asset to the company.

When you look at the benefits that stem from implementing a truly effective offboarding program, it is clear that these far outweigh the time and effort it takes to create one. We know that it’s not a quick solution – however, we can guarantee that it is an extremely powerful one!