Offboarding that goes beyond the settlement of practical matters is still in a very early stage. Even though offboarding does pay off! In her article ‘Benefit five times from your departing employee’, Femke Gielis states that your former employee is your ambassador, account manager, recruiter, teacher and your mirror. How do you organize successful offboarding? In this article, Femke Gielis describes the five steps that any organization can put in place for an effective offboarding process.
Five steps for good offboarding
Step 1: Change your jargon
It has immediate effect if the organization replaces the term former employee by alumni. Because alumni are people who go on without you, but always carry a bit of the same organizational DNA. Like you cherish family, you cherish these people too. That may sound like a no-brainer, but there are too many organizations that treat exiting and former employees as "no longer important" instead of seeing them as valuable alumni. The people that we interviewed about on- and offboarding, shared the following experiences:
From our interviews:
“My function ceased to exist. But they did not tell me why. There was a lot of mystery.”
“Once it was clear that I would leave, the contact with my manager became difficult.”
“Nothing was arranged. So at one point I just left.”
“I suddenly could no longer enter the department for security reasons, I was treated like the enemy.”
“It just faded out.“
“Others were honoured for my project.”
Step 2: Set up a process
Setting up any process is the very least an organization can do to with respect to offboarding. After all, a consistent process creates value for any organization. If a process is consistent, trends are easily recognized and knowledge equals power. Difficult? No. A simple app could offer the solution; the leaving employee can be linked online to HR and his line manager, for example, making the entire offboarding process easier and more efficient. Also facilitate contact and knowledge transfer between the departing employee and the new hire, and as an organization you manage the transition in a sustainable manner. Think of a customized app that is a variation on existing apps like for Basecamp and Evernotes Business for example.
Step 3: Confirm your reputation
An app that - in addition to the previously mentioned functionality, ensures that alumni stay in contact with employees and other alumni, receive relevant news and are invited to interesting networking events? Believe us, this works. Alumni have access to a network that they can also benefit from. Networks are more valued than ever before, as is shown by our interviews. So be sure that your organization scores with offering network possibilities and that alumni show your app on countless occasions to others. And that means free publicity for you.
Step 4: Ensure a good community
Alumni recruitment is the next step. It is important to look for interaction with alumni. A well-functioning community is optimal for this. For example, your organization has access to all alumni and their network in one click. Crucial in the search for new colleagues, customers or partners. But think even broader. Invite alumni to share knowledge, for example, to think about new products or services. It turns out that retired colleagues especially want to do that: to finally put really their ideas into practice. Or maybe you would like alumni to take place in the selection board.
Step 5: Increase your reach
Get the most out of your alumni network by adding gamification elements. Research from Accenture shows that 55% of departing employees are interested in contributing to your success as a previous employer through an online connection if a serious incentive is attached. Motivate alumni by applying scoring principles to alumni activities and linking bonuses. The additional activity this generates, leads to deeper and new contacts between people, which will increase the reach of your organisation.
Visit our theme page about on- and offboarding. You never get a second chance to make a last impression.