Stage Six of the Employee Lifecycle Model series is Separation. As a reminder, the Employee Lifecycle Model is an organizational method used to visualize how an employee engages with the company they are a part of. There are six stages involved in this model: Attraction, Recruitment, Onboarding, Development, Retention, and Separation.
For every employee, the lifecycle has to end at some point. It could be retirement, education aspirations, a new job, or other personal reasons. Many businesses treat departures negatively, somehow seeing it as a personal or professional slight when someone leaves.
A departure can be an incredibly difficult time, but it can also be as positive as the onboarding process. Although some situations might be untenable, making sure your employees leave in the best possible way can bring significant ROI to the business. Happy ex-employees act as brand ambassadors, provide job referrals, and can even return to the fold in the future. In fact, almost 40% of employees say they would return to their previous place of employment.
Maintaining good relationships with individuals who have left also carries none of the risks that disgruntled ex-employees bring. But this is about more than avoiding risks; there are some real advantages to doing this right. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate the stage.
- Put an actual system in place for off-boarding
This should include a checklist of items like disabling network access, the return of technology equipment and completed paperwork. Some of these elements might feel slightly cold and clinical, like handing back ID fobs and phones, but it still needs to happen and effectively begins the process.
- Be prepared with a stop-gap strategy to cover the transition
It’s your responsibility to ensure that the employee exits in a way that doesn’t cause major disruption to the larger team. Move quickly to redistribute tasks and responsibilities or effect a clear and clean transition.
- Build in extra check-ins during the final weeks
Make sure you check in on your team during the last few days and weeks to see how they’re faring. This can be an emotional and stressful time for employees, so operating with empathy will help everyone.
- Ask for honest feedback
Like the application process, exit surveys should be easy and painless. If possible, conduct a personal exit interview to gather as many valuable insights and feedback as possible. Showing that you are still listening at this stage of departure in the employee lifecycle proves that you are committed to employee engagement across the whole journey. Understanding reasons for someone leaving could also provide an opportunity to prevent others from doing so, too.
- Keep your team focused
The loss of a valued employee can cause a shift in overall team morale. Reaffirm your commitment to the remaining team members and remind them that while this departure may be disappointing, the team will ultimately recover and grow as a result.
To create the best employee experience for your team, focused attention needs to be given to your ENTIRE employee lifecycle. Prove to your employees – future, current and former, that you are invested in their success and the success of your overall business.
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