Successfully offboarding employees
You will be aware by now, how important a good employee onboarding process is in giving your new hires a positive experience when starting at your organisation. After all, it can be the difference in whether your new hire decides to stay engaged and add value to your organisation or become disengaged and look at opportunities elsewhere. To find out more about employee onboarding click here.
It is essential to make new hires feel welcome but is your organisation also making sure that your employees leave feeling appreciated? You would offer a positive experience throughout an employee's career, so why should that stop the day they decide to part ways with your organisation?
The experiences your employees go through when leaving your organisation is just as important as when they first started. It doesn’t matter what has happened to cause that employee to leave but what does matter is how you handle it. These impressions form how your employee will remember your organisation and how likely they are to speak positively about their time working for your organisation.
Why does offboarding matter?
The term ‘offboarding’ is not used that often and is understandably why it is a grey area that many companies probably want to avoid, with only 29% of organisations actually have an employer offboarding programme in place. They might not see it as that important but it is all about your company culture. We all see it too often. An employee hands their notice in and suddenly their world goes dark. In fact, in some cases, it reaffirms their decision to leave. This is not the experience you want your leaver to go through. Whilst some situations may be difficult and leave an employee or employer feeling hurt, the response that you provide the employee should be professional. Without an effective employee offboarding process, you could be at risk of leaving a negative impression on your former employees which could potentially damage your organisations brand and reputation.
Imagine the scenario; Helen has been at your company for the past few years and has been a fantastic employee who has added lots of value.
Helen enjoys working for your organisation but has now decided to take on an opportunity elsewhere to further progress her career, however, since handing in her notice she has been given the cold shoulder and been ignored, leaving her with a negative experience of your organisation.
Not only will Helen feel upset that she has left on bad terms, but she will now be less enthusiastic about referring your organisation to friends, family and peers. She might also be put off from being your customer too.
With social media and company review sites now prevalent, employees who leave on bad terms might also decide to leave negative feedback about their poor experiences on social media. These bad experiences could spread like wildfire and potentially put off future applicants from applying to your organisation and former staff members from buying your services or products.
What are the benefits of offboarding?
Employees who leave on good terms are more likely to become an ambassador for your organisation and brand and share their good experiences with friends and acquaintances.
A positive review from a former worker can be powerful in persuading candidates to apply for your organisation; after all, they have experienced your company culture, and values. With a positive review, a potential employee can see first-hand that your organisation is a fantastic place to work for.
By keeping lines of communication open with former staff members, you will be keeping a network of people who champion your organisation. Not only will they continue to use your products or services on a personal level, but they will also be more likely to recommend your organisation to their network too.
Employees who are leaving your organisation have a fountain of knowledge about your target market and industry, with an effective off boarding process you can use this deep wealth of experience to onboard and train up new employees more effectively. You can also gather feedback from departing employees to help understand more on what is needed to improve your organisation, and what can be done to help it grow.
So what is needed to make an effective employee offboarding process?
As with onboarding new hires, offboarding is about communicating with your outgoing staff to make sure that they feel positive about their time working for your organisation. Simple things such as conducting exit interviews will go a long way. These will provide you honest feedback, especially if someone impartial conducts them, and allow you take the feedback to provide better experiences for your existing staff.
An employee might be leaving for another company, but there is no reason to stop communicating with that person, especially when they have made a huge contribution to your company.
By not communicating you could be reminding a leaver of the negative aspects of working for your organisation and leave them questioning why they worked there in the first place, but with effective communication and the right steps in place, you can reinforce to your leavers that the time spent with your organisation has been worth it.
By keeping the lines of communication ongoing, you may be losing a fantastic employee but you will be gaining an ambassador and an advocate who can help sell your organisation as a fantastic workplace for years to come.
For more information on how your organisation can effectively communicate throughout the recruitment process and beyond, click here.