Turning outgoing employees into business ambassadors
This is the third and final post in a short series on handling employee departures. We kicked off by covering the differences between employee offboarding and employee aftercare.
Last week, we looked in greater depth at what employee offboarding is and how to improve the process within your business.
This post will wrap up by addressing aftercare, encompassing the emotional, social, and relational aspects of an employee’s departure.
Good aftercare can have a large positive impact on your departing employee. In the longer term, your business can hope to reap the benefits through retention, the return of ‘boomerang’ employees, and an improved reputation in your industry.
With that in mind, how can you make sure your aftercare procedures are effective?
Hold an appropriate celebration
The choice of celebration for your departing employee will depend on their personality, your business, and your staff. Don’t assume that your colleague will appreciate a huge surprise party! They may prefer a special lunch with their closest team members.
It’s essential that someone remembers to plan some kind of leaving event. This is often best handled by a manager or delegated to a colleague close to the departing employee.
Be as flexible as you can (for everyone’s benefit)
When an employee decides they want to leave your company, it’s reasonable to expect them to work out their full notice period. This is typically best for the business—having employees work their notice periods suits over 90% of employers, who want to stick to contractual requirements.
However, employers also recognise that if a staff member decides to leave after a shorter period, chasing them with legal consequences would be extremely expensive.
As such, a business should try to be open to their employee’s needs. If an employee has a good reason to leave sooner than their notice period, they will appreciate flexibility and understanding on the part of the employer.
Don’t make people feel bad about leaving
Leaving an organisation is a surprisingly taboo topic. Employees don’t necessarily leave because they hate their colleagues. But they may fear that it will be taken the wrong way: up to 40% of employees don’t tell any co-workers that they’re planning to leave.
One simple way to improve aftercare is to “Make it OK to leave”.
When employees feel totally comfortable about leaving, it is normal for them to talk openly about applications, interviews, and career aspirations. In other words, they will see your business as part of their developmental journey—not just as a stepping stone.
And if you allow your employees to talk about their plans, you increase their chances of returning in the future.
Make your exit interview supportive
We’ve previously talked about the ways that exit interviews can offer valuable insights into your business.
They also serve a very valuable purpose in your aftercare. By holding a friendly exit interview, you show respect to your soon-to-be former employee. They will know that you care about their views, and value that final opportunity to talk to them.
Create a working culture that people don’t want to leave
Finally, if your staff dislike working at your organisation, it is unlikely that their feelings will improve once they leave.
In fact, a toxic work environment can cause significant mental distress even after an employee’s resignation. An employee’s relief at leaving can be accompanied by extremely negative emotions.
Employee turnover is inevitable at the very best of workplaces. But when your business operates a supportive and encouraging environment, every departing staff member becomes a positive ambassador for your work.
If their experiences with you were negative, they will damage your organisation’s reputation whenever they talk about their time at the company.
Aftercare nurtures your long-term business prospects
An ineffective aftercare procedure can be improved through some simple changes.
When you encourage your staff to talk about their futures, provide a positive exit interview, and hold meaningful leaving events, your former employees are far more likely to remember their time with your company fondly.
Beyond the topics mentioned here, you could improve your aftercare by actively offering positive references, inviting former staff back for office events, or even developing an alumni network.
In short, good aftercare need not be expensive to make a difference to your employees, but it may be very helpful for the long-term success of your business.