Don't have an employee offboarding experience yet? Maybe, it's time
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Last September, my father retired after more than three decades in service. And of those 35 years, he spent all 35 at one single workplace - can you believe that!
But that’s not the generation or era we are part of. We live at a time where employees will inevitably leave the organization.
While this breakup can be hard, for both the employee and the organization, it does not necessarily have to end bitterly. We’ll tell you all the reasons why in this blog.
But before we jump in…
What is employee offboarding experience?
Employee offboarding is the formal separation between an employee and an organization as a result of the employee’s resignation, retirement or termination.
And the experience that an employee has - positive or negative - during this period forms the crux of their employee offboarding experience.
A traditional offboarding process often includes:
Transfer of knowledge
Recovery of any company-owned property
Revoking access to company systems or applications
And, conducting exit interviews and collecting feedback
While this is pretty straightforward, the exit process can often get complicated, stretched out and apathetic. Paperwork, compliance and formalities take over completely, so much so that the departing employees feel unsupported, unseen and disrespected.
And that’s not a great way for your exiting employees to feel.
Types of exiting employees
You see, not all employees are leaving your organization because you did something wrong or because they are unhappy. However, a cumbersome, painstaking offboarding process can change all that.
Employees who are leaving your organization can broadly be categorized into three groups:
Regrettable turnover: This segment include all those employees who are quitting the organization for reasons which are within your control. This could include a lack of growth opportunities, an unsupportive manager, a toxic work culture, etc.
Non-regrettable turnover: This segment includes those employees who are choosing to leave the organization for reasons beyond your control and that could be a change of career path, shift in life priorities, movement to a new city or country, organizational change and so on.
Unavoidable turnover: This particular segment includes all employees whose roles become redundant and have to be let off by an organization in response to cost-cutting, organizational change, a department being shut down, etc.
A good offboarding experience can help you:
Fix the issues that lead to regrettable turnover, thereby, improving your culture and employee retention rates
Leave the employees in the non-regrettable turnover group with a rich and positive experience of the organization, ensuring positive word-of-mouth and reputation
Enable the employees in the unavoidable turnover group to have a respectful transition out of your organization, demonstrating care and avoiding a PR disaster, at worst.
But that’s not all the reason there is for delivering a great offboarding experience.
Why delivering a great offboarding experience is important
Your employees are your best brand ambassadors
An employee who leaves with a good experience is more likely to refer your organization to potential candidates and even customers. And who wouldn’t want that! Such referrals are considered to have better conversion rates, lower acquisition cost and offers the highest return on investment.
Keep the doors open for returning employees
Like I mentioned earlier, not all employees are leaving your organization because they are unhappy with the workplace. For these former employees, you would want to keep the door open because boomerang employees are already acclimatized to your culture and need less ramp-up time to be a fully contributing member of the organization.
The peak-end rule of psychology
People generally judge an experience based on how they felt at its peak and at the end of the experience. Your employees too are going to remember their tenure at your organization based on their peak experience and their offboarding experience.
All the more reason why you should ensure that their offboarding experience is nothing but the best.
Opportunity to fix gaps in the organizational culture
A departing employee is usually more forthcoming with their feedback than existing employees. You can make the best of this opportunity to understand the gaps in your culture that could have been a deciding or influencing factor in the employees decision to leave, and bridge the gap to stop more employees from leaving for the same reasons.
Build your reputation as an employee-first brand
People like organizations that care. Giving your departing employees a fair and positive exit simply shows that yours is a caring and employee friendly organization. On the flipside, a poor offboarding experience hints towards an organization caring for its employees only as long as they are valuable, contributing resources of the company.
Final note: Empathy is the missing piece in your offboarding experience
In between the paperwork, recovering company materials and revoking access, it is important to retain the human element of the entire experience.
And some of the ways in which you can do this are:
Find out if the reason for quitting can be resolved: Understand if the employee is leaving for a reason that can be resolved. If yes, show them that you would like them to stay by resolving the problem for them. This will boost the confidence and trust of the person who was thinking of leaving, and also of other employees in your organization.
Communicate news of the exit: Once the exit is official, share the news in a transparent manner with all stakeholders. Leave no window open for speculations, rumors or grapevine.
Make the exit process easy for employees: Remove complications from the exit process and make it more streamlined. Hand an offboarding checklist to the exiting employee that will help them navigate their journey more smoothly.
Rethink your notice period policy: The notice period should be only as long as it takes for quick knowledge transfer and other formalities. When employees feel compelled to overstay at the organization, it can lead to bitterness. After all, once the decision to leave has been made, the employee’s productivity only declines.
Show them your gratitude: Don’t forget to tell your employees how valuable their contribution to the organization has been. This can be done through a nicely organized farewell program, a letter from the team leader, and more. Lots of innovative ideas out there!
Add them to your company’s alumni network: If you don’t already have one, create an alumni network and invite all your former employees to join the network. Keep sharing important news, opportunities and more with them.
Ask if they need any help: Last but not the least, don’t forget to ask your employee if they need any help with their future endeavors. It could be contacts, advice, or anything else. Offer to help, and follow through.
So are you ready to start designing and building an offboarding experience your employees will always remember?
Or do you already have an experience that you're proud of? Share your story with us by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org