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When Employees Quit, Make it Personal

Ian Cameron Jul 27, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Employees are job hopping more than ever before. In some fields nearly half of employees are thinking of changing jobs within one or two years. While this can be frustrating for employers, properly offboarding these employees provides three important opportunities:

Creating Brand Ambassadors: It’s a small world. It’s pretty likely that someone who knows your exiting employee will think of applying at some point for one of your vacancies and will ask your ex-employee about their experience working with you.

Nurturing Potential Referrals: Your former employee will meet people who could use your service or product and ideally they’ll recommend your company.

Encouraging Return Employees: Imagine hiring an employee that knows your specific service/product and culture inside and out, knows the current employees and has a relevant skill set. Sounds amazing right? Well, the only way you’re going to find exactly that is by rehiring your former employee.

If they’re pushed out the door without a thought, they’ll leave your organization and never return. Instead, personalized offboarding activities can turn them into a returning employee, a source of clients and a significant brand ambassador.

That All Sounds Really Good But…

As tensions run high and many quick decisions are made between the employee’s resignation and their exit, it’s easy to lose the people focus. By using assessments to personalize the process, this focus can be embed right into offboarding. Some actions can include:  

Exit interviews: This is arguably your most valuable offboarding tool. You’ll be able to determine exactly what can be learned from your employee’s exit. If you’ve done a behavioral assessment on the departing employee, you can use the insights into their personality to probe into their reason for leaving and, identify any gaps in their profile as compared to the job profile during the exit interview and consider the implications for a new hire.

Send off: Don’t let them leave without a proper goodbye, be sure to let your employee know you valued them and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.  Offer to be a reference or write a recommendation letter if you’re willing. For those who will remain, ensure your departing employee is celebrated. This will show you value your people and reward the remaining employees for their hard work in the weeks to come. Assessments can help in determining what kind of celebration will suit your team and individual best. Maybe your highly relaxed team isn’t too keen on a party and would prefer a casual lunch instead. Use insight from a team assessment to brainstorm options but leave the final decision to the team and departing employee.

Knowledge Transfer:
Imagine you’re working in a small organization and a vital employee gives their two weeks’ notice. Ensure that the employee’s final two weeks are spent teaching someone else some of the necessary knowledge for their position. This can be done by having a successor shadow the employee or teaching someone with a similar skill set the knowledge needed to take over in the interim. To ramp up this knowledge transfer, be extra attentive to how the interim employee prefers to learn as well as their motivations.

The Take Away

When someone must exit a job it is a difficult time for all involved. However, this time can be a good learning experience for  HR and other management at the company and serve as some closure for the departing employee and current team. If all parties understand that your organization values your people, you’ve done your job well.

How do you offboard exiting employees? Do you use assessments in this process?

 

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Courtesy of Flickr CC and prettyinprint

 

Topics: Employee Engagement, Recruitment, Employee retention

Ian Cameron

Written by Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron is the Managing Director of The McQuaig Institute®. He has more than 20 years of Human Resource and Organizational Development consulting experience. Throughout his career Ian’s focus has been on helping organizations realize their goals through their people and helping people live their passion through their work.