Exits that cultivate company culture

Topher Reynoso
January 21, 2024

Off-boarding, often seen as a routine process, is undergoing a profound transformation. By infusing empathy into this phase, companies are discovering its far-reaching benefits, not just for departing employees but for the organization as a whole.

Research indicates that a compassionate approach during an employee's departure significantly influences various facets of an organization:

1. Positive Brand Image

Randstad’s Employer Brand Research study from 2021 shows that 50% of candidates would not work for a company with a bad reputation, even with a pay increase. Candidates are increasingly more likely to consider a company's reputation as a crucial factor when applying for jobs. A compassionate off-boarding experience leads to fewer unfavorable reviews which, unfortunately, carry more weight than positive reviews according to folks at the New York Times. Spending time creating more supportive off-boarding experiences generates positive word-of-mouth and strengthens an employer’s brand.

2. Enhanced Employee Morale and Retention

Organizations that prioritize compassionate off-boarding witness a boost in overall employee morale. Research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests that employees who perceive their off-boarding process as positive are more likely to recommend their employer to others, reducing turnover rates.

3. Cost Savings

A recent report published in the Harvard Business Review showed that 80% of people express willingness to return to a past employer. Former employees could be a tremendous source of untapped value. According to the report, 20% of open jobs are, on average, currently filled by alumni. Those alumni fill jobs 50% faster than non-alumni hires and those alumni also experience a 73% reduction in time to productivity, comparatively. By ensuring a smoother transition and maintaining positive relationships, companies can potentially reduce turnover-related expenses and make it easier for employees to come back in the future.

A compassionate off-boarding process nurtures an engaged alumni network. According to LinkedIn, 40% of job seekers say they prefer to hear about job opportunities from former colleagues or friends. This network can serve as a talent pool for rehiring or valuable connections for business collaborations. Professor Erin Makarius of the University of Akron in Ohio (and author of the report above) put it best: "A well-managed offboarding process can turn employees into loyal alumni who become customers, suppliers, boomerang employees, mentors to current workers and ambassadors for the firm."

Implementing Compassionate Off-Boarding: Real Results

Several companies have seen tangible results by prioritizing empathy during off-boarding:

Tech giant Google is known for its supportive off-boarding process. Former employees are encouraged to stay connected through an alumni network, resulting in many returning as boomerang employees or becoming brand ambassadors.

Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, attributes much of its positive employer brand to its compassionate off-boarding strategies. Their emphasis on personalized support for departing employees has contributed to a strong company culture.

Embracing compassionate off-boarding isn't just a gesture of goodwill; it's a strategic investment. Companies that prioritize empathy during departures not only strengthen their reputation but also cultivate a workplace culture that values every individual's contribution, fostering long-term success.

The data clearly illustrates that compassionate off-boarding isn't just about making an exit smoother for departing employees; it's a tool for building a resilient, empathetic, and successful organizational culture. By investing in the well-being of departing employees, companies create a ripple effect that positively impacts their bottom line and reputation in the long run.

Kept can help you and your team develop that supportive off-boarding culture naturally. We replace existing, legally required costs for things like COBRA administration and turn them into meaningful, supportive experiences that result in goodwill from former employees.

Topher Reynoso
January 21, 2024
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