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Why Employee Exit Strategies Matter

2 min read.



Employer Branding, Talent Attraction

Onboarding processes are now an obligatory component of HR policy, but you are making a serious error if you are not putting similar efforts into how people leave your company. Here's why...

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, employer branding has become less of an optional extra and is now an essential component of any competitive business.

A company's reputation as an employer can make or break its ability to attract and retain top talent, which is necessary both tactically and strategically in the long term.

However, one aspect of employer branding that is often overlooked is the exit experience. If you have made the painful decision to let staff go as part of a realignment process, or simply because they were the wrong fit, whether by accident or design, there will be a process of some sort that sees them out the door.

Many companies believe that if a person is leaving the company, there’s no reason to invest any resources in that process. Newsflash -  that’s not true.

With the current economic climate, many companies are unfortunately having to make difficult decisions about layoffs and restructuring. While these decisions are never easy, it's important that companies remember that how they handle these situations can have a lasting impact on their reputation as an employer.

Social media posts where people describe how they were surprised (and not in a good way) to go to the office, only to find they can’t pass through the doors or access their desks to pick up their stuff and give a hug goodbye to their colleagues, are ruinous for a company’s reputation. And rightly so. It is a pretty dehumanizing, and humiliating experience to have to go through.

A good exit experience can mitigate against the negative effects of layoffs and other difficult situations. This includes providing clear communication about the reasons for the layoff, offering support and resources to affected employees, and treating departing staff with respect and dignity.

Communication is key. Talk to them. Give them time to process the news. Let them go into the office, talk to their colleagues, use their email for last goodbyes and set their work matters in order. Ensure that there is some humanity in the process. At the very least it's necessary to ensure a good handover of their tasks, so you want them invested in that.

Give them the opportunity to walk out with their head held high, feeling respected and cared for, even after the bad news. Create former employee alumni groups for orientation and support, and promote them among recruiters, and other companies who are actively hiring.

The importance of review sites

A poor exit experience can quickly ruin a company's reputation as an employer. We all know those companies who are shedding staff in a toxic manner (How’s it going, Elon?) we see those posts every day on LinkedIn.

And it leads to negative reviews on job sites, creating difficulties in attracting new talent, and even legal issues if employees feel they were treated unfairly.

There are any number of statistics that underline the importance of review sites in attracting or repelling candidates to an organisation.

According to our own recent LinkedIn survey, when researching the reputation of a potential employer, Glassdoor is the first thing 64% of job seekers check. And according to the aforementioned Glassdoor, 59% of job seekers would decline an offer from a company with a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. Further proof required? Some 84% of job seekers say that the reputation of a company as an employer is important when deciding where to apply for a job, says CareerArc.

The evidence is irrefutable. Review sites really matter so anything you do to influence positively or negatively what gets posted can have a huge impact on the success of your talent attraction strategy.

As HR professionals and business leaders, it's our responsibility to ensure that companies are treating departing employees with the same level of care and respect as the employees that are staying.

By doing so, you can protect your employer brand and maintain your reputation as a great place to work. In these challenging times, it's more important than ever to prioritize the exit experience and ensure that all employees are greeted at the door when they join and given a proper goodbye when they leave.

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