Offboarding is the new onboarding!

Offboarding is such a difficult topic for you. In times when massive layoffs are done you need to be extremely careful how you execute this milestone in the employee lifecycle. No matter the various reasons and circumstances which lead to termination of the formal collaboration, it inevitably impacts the company brand and impacts the relationships built for years. 

It’s not an easy thing to dismiss a whole team or announce bankruptcy of a company thus cutting off suddenly and at once your full workforce. Especially when you know how much effort is put to hire each and every one of them, one-by-one, to onboard and engage them. Sometimes you just want to avoid thinking about it. The fact is people who work for you now trust you. That’s why you can not afford to treat them badly because they will never forget how you made them feel. How you as an employer or HR let people go is as equally important and critical as attracting and hiring them initially.

Exit process or offboarding is a natural part of the talent acquisition lifecycle. And it can actually be a positive, productive experience! Can you believe this? Believe it or not, the story your ex-employees say about your company is perceived times more credible in front of future partners or employees than the one of your current ones. So, here are 3 simple changes you can implement to turn a negative into a positive!

Change your words

Stop using the word “ex” or “former” in your vocabulary. Celebrate their contributions with titles that are positive and welcome them to return in the future. For example: past contributor, valued alumnus. 

Maybe you end a contract with an employee because their performance was low. Maybe it’s them who decided it’s time for a change. Regardless of the reason and story behind,  treat the people who you have worked with with the respect they deserve. Besides that, what if you look at them as future partners, or you may want to employ them in the future again. The concept of Alumnus builds the bridge between the past and the unknown future. Creates the so-called live-long connection and preserves at least some level of engagement. By delivering positive exit experience your former employees become your Brand Ambassadors.  

Change your conversations

Always start with an honest conversation of what happened that led to this decision. If you need to do a massive layoff, inform and communicate that personally to all of them. Don’t even just retrieve the access to their emails or send an email as an announcement. Take the courage to admit what went wrong and give people the opportunity to speak up their voice.

When you tell an employee that you would like to have an “exit interview,” that signals that the relationship is over. Instead, ask them if they would be able to help you with a “retro” and treat them like you would a valued job consultant. They’re there now to help you learn how to make that position stronger and more enticing for future candidates. The more you listen open-heartedly and show appreciation, the more valuable they become! If they know they are helping to create a better experience for the next person, aren’t they more likely to refer great candidates to you?

Change your expectations

Stop expecting everyone who applies for a job with you to stay forever. The goal is for them to stay longer, but not forever. Let them know that you are proud to have them build on the legacy of those before them, and tell them that you are happy to support their overall career growth wherever that may lead. Tell them in advance that if or when they do decide to move on, you want your professional relationship with them to continue. Explain that you always want to partner with people after they leave! If you haven’t already, now is the time to create an Alumni Referral Club and give them the chance to refer talent to you even after they leave. In return, you can reward them both financially and by offering to give them glowing reviews on LinkedIn.

Remember, failing to create a positive plan for offboarding is a mistake! Why? Because by ending a relationship with negative inclination, you’re losing allies and potentially damaging your reputation.  What you can do instead is following our 3 steps to:

  • Change your words
  • Change your conversations
  • Change your expectations

Ending the collaboration with someone somehow brings bitter taste that you did something wrong somewhere. This is not true. It’s an exit point of a relationship between employer and employee and the starting point of an authentic human to human relationship. All you need is the proper context, strategy and desire to grow while letting employees go.

Ready to start building a better experience for your remote talent? Get in touch with us for a quick chat, and we’ll guide you through the process from start to end! 

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