In today’s business environment, people change jobs far more frequently. In fact, the average U.S. employee has about 12 jobs during their career. Statistics also show that many of these job hoppers end up returning to a previous employer. This growing trend, known as “boomerang” employment, makes it essential for companies to ensure they have an effective offboarding strategy.
We often see an employee’s first two weeks on the job as one of the most important times. But the last two weeks are just as important, if not more.
A meaningful offboarding experience can pay significant dividends. Employers gain an ambassador who can offer potential recruits a shining review of their company – critical in today’s Glassdoor culture. And, it can also inspire former employees to “boomerang” back, by establishing a lasting positive sentiment toward the organization. Even better, these “boomerang” employees will be more likely to return with a positive attitude, which can enhance overall company morale and productivity, and reduce retraining costs.
Here are three tips toward building a solid offboarding strategy:
Losing a star employee is never easy. However, it’s crucial that organizations make employee exits a positive and professional experience. Use empathy to put yourselves in employees’ shoes and think about what would make the process easier and more effective. Ask for meaningful feedback during their exit interview – not simply, “Why are you leaving?” but rather questions like, “What made you start looking?” “What opened the door for you to consider other options?” “Could you see yourself working here again at some point?”
Also, allow departing employees an opportunity to say goodbye in a way that’s appropriate and authentic to your company culture. Often, employees grow to view their coworkers like family, and it’s always difficult to lose a family member. Showing empathy during the transition will foster greater trust and goodwill for the employee that’s leaving as well as the ones staying.
Work closely with departing employees to lay out a clear transition plan for their responsibilities, and inform their team that they’re moving on in a timely and professional way. Tactics like these remind all employees they’re valued and help give them peace of mind.
Also, there’s more to leaving a job then packing up your desk and turning in your ID badge. For many employees, the confusion and anxiety of transferring or being without benefits while in transition can be overwhelming and leave them feeling in a lurch. Providing clear next steps and options for managing/continuing benefits and wrapping up administrative tasks can provide tremendous relief to stressed departing employees.
After an employee has left the company, they may still have questions about their healthcare or voluntary benefits. Make sure they know the door is always open. This shows them you prioritize their well-being, even though they’re no longer an employee. It’s a valuable step toward nurturing a lasting positive sentiment and creating strong alumni ambassadors (or potential boomerang employees) for the future.