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3 Ways to Create a Positive Exit Experience for Your Employees
Workplace

3 Ways to Create a Positive Exit Experience for Your Employees

3 Ways to Create a Positive Exit Experience for Your Employees

Story Highlights

  • Make sure employees feel heard
  • Make them feel proud of their contributions
  • Develop former employees into brand ambassadors

Think about the last person who left your company. Did they depart on good terms -- that is, did they have a good exit experience?

If they're like most U.S. workers, it wasn't ideal. According to Gallup's recent exit study, less than half of exiting employees (45%) say they are satisfied with how their organization handled the exit process.

A generation ago, leaders may have thought, "Who cares how former employees feel about you?" But today, in our interconnected age, HR leaders know better.

Negative exit experiences can erode your employer brand, your ability to hire top talent, internal team morale and even your reputation with customers.

Gallup's analytics prove the point: Employees who have a positive exit experience are 2.9 times more likely to recommend their organization to others than those who have negative or neutral experiences.

Employee departures aren't easy. But getting exits right -- or even getting them better -- can have a significant influence on every other aspect of your business.

Negative exit experiences can erode your employer brand, your ability to hire top talent, internal team morale and even your reputation with customers.

Based on a nationally representative study of employees who recently left a full-time job, Gallup has discovered the following keys to improving employee exit experiences:

1. Make sure employees feel heard.

If you take one thing away from this article, it's this: Exiting employees want to feel heard. Communication is essential to a positive exit.

In fact, there is an 85% likelihood of a positive exit experience when employees say they had all of the following experiences with their previous organization:

  • A supervisor or leader talked with them in the three months before leaving about their job satisfaction, the future of their career with the organization and what it takes to be effective.
  • They talked with someone about leaving the organization before resigning.
  • They feel that there is nothing their manager could have done to prevent them from leaving.

Clearly, a "good exit" begins long before the day an employee packs up their desk.

Exiting employees want to feel heard. Communication is essential to a positive exit.

Managers need to have regular conversations with employees about their job, where they are headed and what they need to do their job better. Employees want to see a bright future for their career-and know their manager believes in them.

In addition, when managers hear clues about a possible departure (and they want to retain that person), they need to make an honest, good faith effort to improve their situation.

2. Make them feel proud of their contributions.

When an employee looks back on their time with you, they want to feel like it mattered. Every person wants to feel that they contributed, even in a small way.

And yet, less than half of former employees (40%) strongly agree that they are proud of their work at the organization.

Before they leave the office, employers have the opportunity to help employees write a story about their past, one that makes them feel good about themselves and you.

This may include messages from the team or a reception -- but, perhaps most importantly, it includes words from their manager.

According to Gallup's analytics, employees who are proud of their work are 61% more likely to have a positive exit experience.

When an employee looks back at their time with you, they want to feel like it mattered. Every person wants to feel that they contributed, even in a small way.

3. Develop former employees into brand ambassadors.

In today's competitive job market, employers can't afford to be bitter over broken relationships. A "bad breakup" -- publicized on social media or employer review sites -- can have real consequences for your ability to attract and hire quality candidates.

Employers need to develop the best post-employment relationships they can, which means thinking about the value of their reputation with employees after employment.

Only 12% of former employees strongly agree that they consider themselves to be a part of their previous organization's alumni network. This reveals a huge opportunity for an organization that is searching for partnerships, talent or other resources.

A truly comprehensive exit program should include purposeful check-ins with alumni -- who voluntarily left on good terms -- that alert them to new employment or referral opportunities.

Only 12% of former employees strongly agree that they consider themselves part of their previous organization's alumni network.

This can be a time to reinforce your employer brand, win back lost talent or generate quality referrals.

Good Exits Are Intentional

Exits can be surprising and emotional. That means organizations need to plan ahead and have a process in place that will make the most of the situation. Voluntary exits should be treated differently than involuntary exits given the circumstances, potential legal ramifications, and safety concerns associated with a forced termination.

Not every relationship can be saved. However, employers can do a lot to make employees feel better about their tenure.

When done well, exit programs can be one of the most important ways you express your organization's culture.

  • You can show your true colors and how you value your people by making their opinions count and asking them about the best part of working at the organization and what could have been better.
  • You can recognize them for contributing to the mission, values and business objectives of the organization.
  • And you can demonstrate to coworkers that even through the discomfort of an exit interview, departing employees will be treated with care.

How an employer treats an exiting employee influences all the "bystanders" who remain at the organization.

Gallup can help you create a positive exit experience for all employees leaving your organization:

Ben Wigert is Director of Research and Strategy, Workplace Management, at Gallup.

Sangeeta Agrawal is a Research Manager for Gallup.

Ryan Pendell contributed to this article.

Gallup


Gallup https://www.gallup.com/workplace/246203/ways-create-positive-exit-experience-employees.aspx
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