Last impressions are often lasting impressions, and offboarding is a company’s chance to get it right. When done intentionally, offboarding can set the stage for positive, long-term relationships, and serve as an opportunity to gain valuable feedback.
Each employee that leaves your organization either becomes an advocate or antagonist for your employer brand. Studies show that antagonists tend to make a bigger impact.
The average employee tells upwards of 20 people about a bad experience and only 11 people about a good experience. One study even suggests that it takes 40 positive reviews to undo the damage of one negative review. These statistics highlight the ripple effect of how negative experiences spread in the marketplace.
It’s incredibly important to be preventative about creating positive last impressions, so that your company isn’t fighting the uphill battle of negative press, and burning bridges unnecessarily.
Offboarding is the process of parting ways with an employee. Just as it’s important to get employees off to a strong start, it’s equally important to send employees off in a way that preserves the relationship between both parties, and protects your reputation in the marketplace. Offboarding is an excellent opportunity to gather feedback and use it as fuel to improve the experience of current employees.
The scope of offboarding extends far beyond just one isolated employee. The way you offboard is a powerful signal to current and former employees that you are who you say you are, and that employees matter more than just their contribution to the bottom line. By treating employees well from beginning to end, other employees feel safe knowing they’ll receive the same respect.
Offboarding must be an intentional process that begins with a core set of objectives.
Disconnecting employees from sensitive corporate information, filling out necessary paperwork, and arranging a final paycheck are among a few logistical threads that need to be tied off. Keep in mind the importance of ending access. Eighty-nine percent of past employees in the US retain unnecessary access to Salesforce, QuickBooks, and other sensitive corporate apps.
Everyone in the organization or team must know about the change, especially those that will be expected to take on the work or clients that the employee is leaving behind.
Consider developing a workflow that clearly shows how the leaving employee’s work will be distributed and reminds the team when this transition will take place. I’ve seen personally how poor a delegation of responsibilities can hurt the team members who are left with the departing employee’s tasks.
How the relationship ends will influence the attitude of the individual employee being offboarded, and all other workers that come across this employee’s perspective, through online reviews or word-of-mouth conversations.
Offboarding is an employer’s opportunity to understand what it’s like to work at their organization, and consider why an employee is leaving. If your company is able cultivate a safe environment for honest feedback, these insights can be analyzed and used for rapid innovation within your organization, whether it’s recognizing repeated issues with a particular manager, or identifying ways to improve culture.
The exit interview is a sacred time to gather feedback. When done correctly, these interviews can reveal pain points and opportunity spaces to improve the experience of your talent. However, an endless stream of true/false questions between the employee and their direct manager is a sure way to botch this opportunity. Here are three research-backed tips for gathering high-quality feedback during the exit interview.
The last day of an employee’s tenure is emotional, which can skew the results of an exit interview. Studies show that two-week mark after an employee leaves is optimal time for one of these chats.
The relationship between an employee and their manager is one of the most important determinants of work satisfaction. Regardless of whether an employee is leaving voluntarily, investigating the relationship between the employee and their supervisor is extremely important.
The use of a third party to conduct the exit interview is an effective way to gather the most honest feedback possible, not only about the employee-supervisor relationship, but the company as a whole. Data indicates that reasons for leaving change by 40% a third party is used, showing that interviews between employees and their superiors tend to dramatically alter the results of an exit interview.
Effective questions are the most important technique to maximize what you can learn from your employee.
The most common mistake in the offboarding process is not taking action on the exit interview data. After uncovering areas of opportunity or key pain points, an improvement plan needs to be put in place. The first step is keeping an orderly and accessible account of the interview data that you can filter by department and manager.
The employer-employee relationship does not need to end after the exit interview. Whether it’s via a thoughtful check-in email or a regular lunch, keeping in touch with former colleagues is mutually beneficial, often leading to future opportunities, references, or partnerships. At large scale, however, People Teams should look for a scalable solution for keeping employees connected post-offboarding.
Alumni networks are a powerful tool to help former employees remain engaged with your organization and with each other. It’s important to show that your company cares about an enduring commitment, and an alumni network is a tangible symbol of this commitment. The network can be a perk that new employees are aware of from the outset of their career, and something to look forward to.
Keeping the lines of communication open can spark important future opportunities. Both Uber and Yelp were started by informal alumni network connections.
The most effective alumni networks identify the overlap between what former employees want, and what the organization can provide. Engage with former employees to identify the kinds of content and networking opportunities they would like. At the same time, evaluate the amount of resources, staff, and time available to give towards this project. Larger companies like McKinsey and Accenture have dedicated alumni network websites, but for smaller companies, a Facebook group, Slack channel, or LinkedIn Alumni group work equally as well to facilitate an online community.
If you have used employee feedback to inform the design of your network, employees should be able to clearly identify the benefits and join organically. For example, responding to employee requests for ‘networking, via a Facebook group that plans yearly meetups’ creates a natural incentive to join and participate.
Forty-one percent of former employees report wanting opportunities to network. An alumni network can simplify the process of keeping former colleagues connected. A channel within a Slack workspace, or multiple with each dedicated to a specific alumni topic, work wonderfully. An alumni directory that’s continuously updated is another great alternative.
Content must be curated based on what your alumni would like to see. Consider a newsletter or post with updates on the organization, announcements, and surveys for continuous feedback.
Highlighting alumni success stories is an excellent way to make members feel appreciated and part of the community. It is a great source for content as well as organically fueling alumni networking.
Effective offboarding demonstrates that you value employees as people, not just mere contributors to the bottom line. The way offboarding is handled also has the power to significantly help or hurt your business. Here are our top considerations, summarized, to take into consideration when pitching an offboarding re-vamp to managers and key stakeholders.