Benefit five times from your former employee

In preparation for our event on Onboarding and Offboarding, Femke Gielis, strategist at TinQwise, conducted research mainly related to offboarding. In particular she investigated whether companies should invest time, money and effort in solid offboarding. Or is it ludicrous to invest in people that are leaving the company anyway? For Femke it is crystal clear: offboarding pays off. She briefly summarizes how you can benefit five times from your departing employee. 

1. Your former employee is your ambassador

Research indicates that a bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire (source Harvard Business Review). And departing employees are the very people who will express their opinion about your organization anywhere, which may affect your reputation. Those opinions - whether or not substantiated - have a growing influence due to social media. But there is more; the way you deal with departing employees, affects the commitment of remaining employees. The more positive you are about the (soon-to-be) former employee, the more positive the employee morale of those who stay on.

2. Your former employee is your account manager

Chances are that in one way or another your former employee stays connected to your company: he or she becomes your customer, partner or supplier, or refers potential customers, partners, and suppliers to you. It therefore pays off to stay on good terms with your former employees, and consequently with his or her professional network. And be aware that - again - due to social media, the personal and professional networks of people have never been as large as they are today.  

3. Your former employee is your recruiter

Your former employee has a great deal of expertise and experience in your organisation and is therefore the perfect recruiter for new colleagues. Nobody knows better what skills are needed for the job than the one who actually fulfilled it. So a positive breakup definitely pays off! LinkedIn research indicates that as many as 33% of people say no to a job if the person who previously fulfilled the position talks negatively about it. 

4. Your former employee is your teacher

You can learn a lot from your soon-to-be former employee. By holding a good exit interview you can collect valuable feedback about your organization. Previously, this employee may have been silent about certain matters for fear of losing his or her job, now he dares to speak freely and express his doubts. The more you engage in a respectful and transparent two-way conversation, the more you will learn about your own organization.

5. Your former employee is your mirror

From the perspective of the organization, offboarding is often just one of the many HR tasks. From the employee's perspective, however, work is an integral part of his or her life. Being a good employer until the end of the working relationship determines the emotional and professional well-being of your employee. If you do that, you will enjoy all of the above benefits. And – equally important - you are doing justice to the good reputation of your business.

For input for this article, interviews were held with about 50 people and the sources below consulted:

  • TLNT, 2015: 'The power of departing employees or why offboarding is critically important'.
  • PWnet, 2017: 'Why attention to offboarding is important'.
  •, 2016: 'A bad reputation costs company at least 10% more per hire'.
  • Linked In, 2015: 'Companies with bad reputation pay 10% more labor costs'.
  • Walsh B., Volini E. (2017). 'Rewriting the rules for the digital age. Deloitte University Press’

Learn more?

Visit our theme page about on- and offboarding. You never get a second chance to make a last impression. 

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