5 tips for considerately managing employee departures

employee departures




Employee departures hold a great deal of influence when it comes to shaping a company’s reputation, which is key to its future growth and success. As celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once said:


“If you have a good experience in a restaurant, you tell 2 people.

If you have a bad experience, you tell 10 people”


The same goes for leaving a job. If employees aren’t treated considerately after they hand in their notice, they’ll be pretty unhappy. And you can guarantee they’ll tell others about it.


When job seeking, 50% of candidates look at company reviews before making a career decision. Many of those company reviews are written by former employees. So a negative review from an ex-employee can scare away good talent and give customers a poor view of your company. This is why it’s so important to be considerate and respectful when handling employee departures.


Good offboarding policies in place help ensure a smooth and positive transition experience. But it’s also worth remembering that employees who leave on good terms can be a great source of business insight. Based on their experience working at the company, they’ll be able to offer valuable feedback and highlight any potential areas for improvement. So here are 5 tips to help ensure your employee departures are handled considerately and respectfully.


Understand motivations


When an employee hands in their notice, you should always make an effort to retain them by offering them tangible incentives to stay. For example, by offering remote working options, you may be able to retain new parents who are pressed for time. Employee’s should be given a chance to openly voice their reasons for wanting to leave without fear of repercussion. When you understand their motivations, you can then see if there are any ways to meet their needs. In certain cases this may help you retain great talent and increase employee satisfaction.  


Let them know they will be missed


Once an employee has finalised their decision to leave, ensure their time at the company ends on a positive note. After all, when they think of your company, how the departure process went will be one of the most memorable experiences. Small things like a leaving gift or a handwritten letter from the leadership team go a long way. In addition, managers should be encouraged to organise a farewell lunch to give coworkers a chance to say goodbye. These may seem like simple acts, but they really do help establish a sense of goodwill.  


Make the most of exit interviews


Writing in Harvard Business Review, Cem Sertoglu and Anne Berkowitch stated:


“Effective alumni relationships are seeded at the moment of departure, when HR executives communicate the benefits of staying in touch and capture valuable information, such as the reasons for leaving, views about the company, future plans and aspirations, and, most important, contact information.”


Before their last day, the departing employee should sit down with their manager and a representative from HR. During the meeting it’s important to confirm they understand all final wage arrangements and benefits. They should also be given plenty of time to ask questions and discuss their final thoughts about the company. As much as you can, try to keep the tone of these conversations positive and factual.  


Stay connected


By encouraging ex-employees to join an online networking group you can maintain a pool of qualified candidates, facilitate rehires and build a stronger reputation in the market. The era of lifetime employment may be over, but maintaining lifelong relationships remains the ideal. Setting up a LinkedIn group or Facebook page requires little investment, but it can go a long way towards maintaining a relationship of mutual trust. Offering perks and discounts to active members of the group is a great way to drive more engagement.


Make life easier for boomerang employees


“Boomerang talent” typically refers to an employee who has left a company and then come back again after some time away. Upon their return they often have a fresh perspective on the business and can offer suggestions for improvement. Furthermore they usually require less training to get up to speed than new hires. But employees will only return to those companies that make them feel welcome. So with this in mind, you should make it easy for ex-employees to apply for open positions and to receive notifications about changes within your companies structure (retirements, promotions etc.). Equipped with new skills acquired while they were away,  they may be able to step in and fill the gap.