Offboarding doesn’t have to feel ‘off’

Have you ever had a crappy experience disconnecting your gas, electricity or broadband when you move house? What about changing your mobile network, or your TV subscription? Did they make it slick and easy, was everything efficient, and were the people you dealt with helpful and polite? Or was it a pain in the arse, nothing being done on time, not keeping you in the loop, and leaving you to chase down money you’re owed at the end? Did it all just feel a little 'off'?

What did that make you think about a company and their brand? Did you tell people about your bad experience? Would you go back to them in the future?

And now imagine that instead of changing your gas or mobile supplier, you’re changing job, or 'offboarding' from an organisation? Does any (or all?!) of the above sound familiar? Now picture the impact that would have on your employer brand and how you’re viewed as an employer. Bit concerning, right?

There’s been so much focus on onboarding, what would it be like if the same effort was put into offboarding…

 

What is off-boarding?

Right now, the ‘official’ off-boarding process is very process oriented, formal and cold, with little focus on providing the employee with a great experience:

  • Communicating the end of employment
  • Transferring knowledge
  • Revoking access to key info
  • Redirecting email/phone accounts

Leaving a business doesn’t have to be a box ticking exercise - it could become a celebration of all they’ve achieved while working with the business! In fact, as a key step in the employee lifecycle, it can be very beneficial for both the individual and the business to leave on good terms and stay in touch.

If your people leave feeling the love, thanks to an excellent leaving experience, they’ll likely continue to be advocates for the talent brand: a relatively untapped and overlooked opportunity.

 

Boomerang employees

If you offer your employees a great leaving experience, without burning bridges, they’re much more likely to consider returning later in their career. Clients tell us that returners have prior knowledge and experience of the business along with buckets of new ideas to bring with them, and they’re a ready made cultural fit. They’ll be cheaper to hire (as there’s generally fewer recruitment costs), quicker to onboard and will be productive much sooner than brand new employees, too!

 

Alumni networks

It’s not only the potential to be ‘boomerangs’ that makes leaving on a good note and keeping in touch with your leavers worthwhile:

  • Useful intelligence - They have knowledge of different ways of working that current employees do not. Encouraging existing and former employees to share their experiences and best practices provides a great learning opportunity, either at alumni events or through social media groups.  
  • Refer customers and employees - Who better to provide ongoing recommendations to join a company, especially if there’s an incentive?
  • Brand ambassadors - Whether you like it or not, all your former employees are brand ambassadors for your business and your employer brand. They’re often seen as more objective and trustworthy, whether on Glassdoor or through personal recommendations. So why not keep them informed with the latest events and business updates?

 

Exit interviews

Is the businesses rational offer (salary, rewards, training or benefits) up to scratch? Or is there a disconnect on an emotional level (leadership, values or vision)? Leavers have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that could be tapped into to help identify areas of concern and fix issues in the short time, while building a bank of relevant insight and data to continually test and improve your EVP. 

 

Creating the best off-boarding employee experience

It’s an area of huge untapped potential, from improving the experience of handing over knowledge, to the long-term building of alumni networks. Why not send former employees into the world as brand ambassadors with a great off-boarding experience?

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