It is always a loss when a good employee leaves a business enterprise for any reason. Typically, the exit process, or offboarding, has to be friendly and courteous because no employer would like to close the door permanently but would instead like to have that employee back, given a change in circumstances. Research studies show that returning or ‘boomerang’ employees constitute 10-20% of corporate hires. They are already pre-trained and culturally fit, thus more cost-effective than new hires. Hiring former employees saves companies a significant amount of money in terms of search-and-recruitment fees. So, an unfriendly separation process doesn’t make good business sense.
Despite knowing all these, the situation can radically change during the offboarding process of a poor performer or during layoffs and firing. It is common for managers and HR personnels to forget that unkindness can backfire in a digitally connected world, as disgruntled former employees may leave poor reviews online. A study done in 2017 by Glassdoor job site in the US found that more than 50% of jobseekers checked online reviews before applying for a job at any company. Hence, bad reviews of your company can seriously affect your chances of recruiting good employees if you are in a competitive field suffering from a talent crunch.
So, if a company’s offboarding process is unpleasant, it can adversely affect its business growth in the long run. And going beyond an employer-employee relationship, nothing prevents a former employee from becoming a customer or supplier of your organization. Such a person would be more trustable and easier to work with. There is another critical angle in employee offboarding, especially when employees resign and leave the company on their own accord. Only through friendly exit interviews with such employees can you learn about specific weaknesses of your company that you may otherwise never get to know.
Last but not least, your employees, both current and former, are your best brand ambassadors. An employee exit is usually packed with stress and uncertainty, both for the employer and the employee, as well as for the co-workers and colleagues. How the managers treat the departing person is observed by all, and a wrong impression can affect the morale of those employees who are left behind. Furthermore, only if the last impression of the exiting employee is pleasant and worth recalling will that employee talk well about the organization to the external world. So, making the exit process smooth and happy for employees is one of the best decisions you can make. And for a small business organization, which doesn’t have top talent lining up to join it, that would also be an essential survival strategy.