Employee Offboarding Gone Wrong Will Damage Your Employer Brand

When it comes to welcoming a new employee and on-boarding, organizations really go above and beyond to make sure their first impression is a positive one. Welcome emails, team lunches, guided tours. Why? Because first impressions matter and all these efforts have a direct impact on employee retention.

Employee offboarding is a vital moment for any organization as well—but we don’t always get it right. In fact, often the process for offboarding an employee is ad hoc or neglected altogether.

Whether voluntary or involuntary, Employee Offboarding can be done with dignity and grace and help enhance your Employer Brand, or it can be a disaster that can hurt your Employer Brand for years to come. 

When an employee is leaving, particularly if it is involuntary, emotions are running high and there are ample opportunities for the situation to go wrong. Effectively preparing yourself for the inevitable can not only save you from damaging your employer brand but can help avoid: 

  • Costly litigation by the employee
  • Loss of company property and trade secrets
  • Negative reviews on job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor and other social forums
  • Low morale and underperformance of current employees

What measures can you take to protect your employer brand?

Before and after offboarding an employee, it’s important to undertake measures to protect your business and your employer brand, while respecting your departing employee.

  1. Standardize your Employee Offboarding Process.
    Consistency in offboarding is critical to success. While each situation is unique and sometimes you need to customize to the local geography, having a set of standard processes and providing coaching on how to offboard an employee, is instrumental. It is also a great opportunity to emphasize your EVP messages and ensure the exit process is as aligned to your employer brand as your entrance process. Here are a few important ways:
    • Streamlining your Exit Interview and asking some consistent questions of all departing employees, regardless of the reason for departure. We also recommend developing Exit Interview questions that align with the key areas of your EVP and your engagement survey. This is a fantastic opportunity to gather insights and see if there are themes across interviews that will help you drive change. 
    • Be warm and use EVP messaging and tone in all your templated communications, to both the employee and the rest of the organization. 
    • Whether you plan tentative restructuring, or you have had recent departures, ensure you communicate with your employees constantly at these critical times – silence breeds fear and no one wants that! 

  2. Build Strong Alumni Networks.
    You never know who your departing employee might know or when they will come back! Especially in industries like banking, where there can be a few big companies that candidates often move between, alumni networks can really make a difference. Even though your departing employee isn’t the right fit right now, over time they can gain skills, maturity and experience for the right role, or the right opportunity might be something that opens up in the future. Regardless, an alumni talent group offers you the benefit of keeping people who know you and your brand close, which can open up opportunities for talent acquisition. Burning bridges can severe ties with future talent while building them can help grow your talent bench strength.

  3. Ensure Your Offboarding Process Considers All Departures.
    When considering offboarding and the role of your EVP, people usually think about Voluntary separations (employees leaving one organization for a new opportunity) and steer clear off Involuntary separations (when an employee has no choice in the matter). However, it is critical to embed your EVP and be true to your employer brand with all departures, regardless of the reason, as all departing employees have a brand experience that they are likely to share. For example, does your company have a process in place for retirees or summer students? What about people that go on maternity leave or sick leave? These are all opportunities to reinforce your EVP and provide as positive an experience as possible that aligns with your brand and culture. 

Effective Offboarding is critical to maintaining productivity and service delivery. How you part ways with an employee can also impact whether they’re likely to promote, forget, or damage your brand. As such, ensuring you work your EVP into your Employee Offboarding process can help create brand ambassadors, avoid employee retaliation and negative reviews on social websites like Glassdoor or Indeed, and best of all…create future talent opportunities. 

If you would like to chat about how to help weave your EVP into your offboarding process and more, contact Blu Ivy for more info at 647-308-2352.

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