Tuesday 23rd March, 2021
The term “alumni” usually describes the graduates of an institution. Colleges and universities put much effort into staying connected with graduates and encouraging them to support their former institutions through fundraising and recruiting students. Some employers have discovered the benefit of maintaining connections with former employees. Workers who leave jobs because they find other jobs or retire can be valuable assets to their previous organizations. In a Harvard Business Review article titled “Turn Departing Employees into Loyal Alumni,” Alison M. Dachner and Erin Makarius discuss the importance of offboarding programs in helping former employees and organizations stay connected.
Management consulting firms have long been trailblazers in maintaining a network of corporate alumni. Consultants who move on may become partners or clients later. Companies that want to maintain a relationship with former employees can achieve that goal by implementing offboarding programs. Offboarding is akin to onboarding or the tasks conducted to welcome and orient a new employee to the workplace. The difference is that offboarding sends a valued exiting employee off positively and can foster goodwill. Positive offboarding may leave the door open for future collaboration or an employee returning to an organization. Regardless of their length of service, offboarding can help employees who leave see themselves not only as former employees but as corporate alumni.
If conducted thoughtfully, offboarding can prevent problems when an employee resigns or is terminated. Informing employees about the company’s offboarding program during hiring can help them feel supported and is also a way to avoid misunderstanding when an employee leaves a position. According to Dachner and Markarius, planned strategies for managing employee exits may also help a company avoid legal issues. When an employee already knows the offboarding process will involve sharing information such as computer passwords or signing non-compete agreements, that foreknowledge can reduce the risk of ill feelings.
It is not unusual for human resources departments to conduct exit interviews with outgoing workers. However, unless it is necessary to complete paperwork for severance pay, pensions, or insurance, an employee may skip an exit interview. Some organizations include offboarding tasks in their human resources policies but do not carry them out consistently. As a result, the employer misses out on valuable feedback that can foster improvement in policies and procedures and create a responsive and more welcoming work environment. Offboarding is a way to transfer knowledge to the individual or team that will assume the departing employee’s duties.
There are many benefits for employees who participate in offboarding. When there are layoffs, employees need information about ongoing benefits like health and life insurance. The offboarding process may include interview coaching and skills training to prepare outgoing employees to seek new careers.
Offboarding creates an opportunity to celebrate an outgoing worker’s contributions to an organization regardless of tenure. Whether the employee finds a new job or retires, publicly recognizing what the individual has meant to a company shows affirmation and appreciation. When the company wants to maintain a relationship, and if the employee agrees, a positive exit can be a win-win. As a result of the support received during the offboarding process, alumni may speak well of the company, be called upon to share expertise, and may be willing to mentor new employees. A valued employee who leaves on good terms may also decide to return to work for an organization.
Let us help you transition your valued former employees to corporate alumni. Book a demo today and see how easy it can be to stay connected to your corporate alumni.
Posted by Argyris SkouloudisCorporate Alumni offboarding stayconnected Blog