We’ve talked about the importance of onboarding previously. Equally as important as how you transition a new employee to becoming a fully functioning member of your team, is how you treat employees who are leaving your business.
The reality is that new employees tend to receive more support and resources than those who, for whatever reason, are leaving. In terms of your employer brand, the opinions, experiences and attitudes of all employees, past and current, has a big impact.
Providing a supportive offboarding experience for employees, where they feel valued and respected, also increases the chances that they may come back to your business at some point. Bringing new thinking and ways of doing things while also having that prior institutional knowledge relevant to your business.
The first point to remember is that the person is leaving the business for a reason that may be beyond your control. Set the right tone for the offboarding process, don’t respond negatively to employees who have chosen to continue their career path elsewhere. In terms of what that process may look like, here are some things to consider.
Like anything in business, having a company-wide approach or policy towards offboarding means you’ll deliver a consistent and thorough experience that can be tailored to the individual. Regardless of the size of your business, there are the basic offboarding essentials or administrative tasks that need to be completed, for example exit interviews, equipment/IP handover, post-employment pay arrangements etc. Exit interviews are a particularly valuable way of gaining feedback on your organisation.
One area often not considered, is capturing the departing employee’s knowledge. This could be as simple as a project wrap up session with the employee and their team or you could even ask the person to write a report and essentially share their knowledge with the wider business. Quite often, especially in larger organisations, we fail to truly understand what individuals contribute to the wider business and loose sight of those roles that are business critical. Knowledge can be gained, so what is really important is understanding how that person thinks and operates – that will set the next person up for success. Maybe even assign another employee to work alongside or ‘shadow’ the departing employee, observing who they interact with and what they do, essentially learning by doing.
Loose job manuals
Gaining insights from departing employees is important but it shouldn’t turn into that person creating a hefty job manual on how to do their job. What is really valuable is the stories they can share, particularly about how they handled challenging situations, who they interact with in the business to get decisions made and where they access their information from. This may take the form of learning logs i.e., here’s the situation, this is how I tackled it, and this is what I learned.
The key takeaway is that you need to carefully design an offboarding process that is positive for the employee and contributes to your employer brand with the ultimate goal of maintaining relationships that could add future value.
If you are looking for assistance on your offboarding process or any aspect of your human resource business requirements, get in touch with us.
The Decipher Team
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