4 Reasons You Need to Nail Your Employee Exits

August 31, 2015

We put a lot of focus on the hiring process these days. From figuring out how to attract top talent and formulating the perfect interview process all the way to crafting week-long onboarding programs, we go above and beyond to get our new recruits excited and prepared for the work ahead. But, too often, interaction with candidates ends after onboarding. We’re so focused on the hiring and onboarding processes that we seldom put much effort into the employee exit process, not realizing the impact an exit can have on the team and company as a whole.

So, what happens when employees are ready to move on — either voluntarily or involuntarily? These are people who have committed time and hard work to their team and company, and when they leave should be treated just as well as they were when they first came on board.

Employee exits can have lasting impact not just on the person leaving, but on the company and team members who remain. It’s therefore important to prioritize your employee exit process, here’s why.

1. Network & Employee Brand

There is immense value in networking and this should in no way stop just because someone leaves your company. Anyone exiting a company is (hopefully) moving on to new opportunities, which entails meeting new people, establishing new connections and growing their network. No matter how awesome your company is, there will always be some who cycle out — it’s your job to keep them involved! Creating alumni groups where you can share news, open positions and more are extremely powerful. And setting up a space for former employees to communicate doesn’t hurt either. Your brand stays with your employees well after they’ve left your company. And a huge upsell for your employee brand is showcasing where your alumni have moved on to — whether that’s starting their own company or joining as a high-level team member somewhere else.

2. Reputation

It’s easier than ever for former and current employees to voice their feedback — social media, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, the list is endless. Keeping your reputation in tact is another huge reason why it’s important to help employees transition smoothly out of your organization. Alumni can either be your biggest advocates or your biggest enemies, and it’s up to you to set that tone.

3. Information

It’s amazing what you can learn from people who are no longer tied to your company. Employee exits are crucial opportunities to get as much information as possible in order to understand what can be done better for the employees still with you. Someone (typically on the HR or Talent team) should own the exit interview process, which should be a way for you to find out how departing employees felt about their time at the company and what could have been done better to develop or keep them.

Allowing people to leave your company without understanding the why behind their departure is a huge missed opportunities. Exiting employees offer exactly the type of information you unfortunately just can’t get from current team members. And, while exit conversations are important for the company, they’re also important for the departing employee. Give departing team members an opportunity to share feedback, ask questions around logistics (especially important if an employee is departing with stock options) and an opportunity to reflect on their time with your company.

4. Employee Experience

To put it simply, how you treat people leaving your company will directly impact people still at your company. Employee exits don’t have to be a bad thing and the more you can do to control the conversation, the better the process will be. People will find out sooner or later that someone is leaving the company, so instead of letting the news spread through the office as gossip, get in front of the situation. Share the news in a timely and positive way. Management should take teams aside and explain, simply, that a person is moving on to a new opportunity. Keep it simple and keep it happy.

And, when someone leaves your company there should be some kind of positive celebration associated with their departure — think a small happy hour, a departing gift or some other token of appreciation. After all, this is someone who committed their time and effort to better your organization and it will do the organization well to send them off with well-wishes. Your departing employee will feel appreciated and your current employees will see that you value absolutely everyone.

Remember that while hiring and onboarding are important, you need to support your employees throughout and after their time with your company. Doing so will set both you and your current and former employees up for long-term success.

Recruiter, Sales & Marketing

<strong>Katelyn Lagarde</strong> is a recruiter at <a href="http://www.cloudhealthtech.com">CloudHealth</a>. She was previously a Talent Specialist at OpenView.