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The positive impact that offboarding can have on your employer reputation.

Offboarding site

Every organisation knows the value of effective onboarding – creating valuable first impressions and personal connections, getting the newbie up to speed and productive more quickly, showing them your purpose and, in so doing, the meaning in their work every day whoever and wherever they are. (Sadly organisations know this but don’t practice it often enough.)

But what about when people leave? And especially when that departure is not something the employee would have chosen for themselves?

In this COVID world, employers are waking up to the fact that everything they do has to be approached in a different way. More are understanding their responsibilities as an employer and acting differently, however too many haven’t realised that managing your employer reputation requires a truly holistic approach. And an effective offboarding process is an essential part of that. The risk is that, if (when) you do this badly your reputation and brand will be adversely influenced long after COVID has gone. However, do it well and you will build brand equity with all those key audiences like never before. More importantly you’ll be doing the right thing at a time when people need you to. The fact that organisations will restructure and downsize over the rest of 2020 is inevitably going to create profile and stories (internally and externally). The question is, ‘What do you want yours to be’?

If you look at any “best practice” guide on offboarding staff you’ll see all sorts of checklists to help you mercilessly process people out of your business. You’ll see a legal framework and some standard letters to keep the employer out of tribunals: you’ll see the checklist from IT that ensures all systems access is revoked, shared passwords are changed and sensitive data is blocked; you’ll see nasty memoranda from facilities to make sure all company property is recovered and a reminder, probably, to update the company org chart and phone book immediately to erase their memory altogether. And if you really don’t get it you’ll see the demonising scare stories of the employees who ‘just forgot’; to give back their uniform, ID badge or staff discount card and profited as a result.

But come on. Really? Is that it? I put “best practice” in inverted commas as this is anything but. Where’s our humanity? As a business and as the sixth largest economy in the world we can do better. As an employer operating in the COVID world we can do better.

So, yes, think about the process. The admin has to be done. And now think about the people and how approaching this more holistically will serve every audience in a much better way. So, who are our key audiences?

Let’s start with your managers. They probably didn’t choose this and need structure and support to run the process empathetically.

Let’s look at ‘the survivors’. How are they? Building trust as an employer is a key pillar in the employment experience. Here’s your opportunity.

Let’s look at your customers and shareholders. What would they expect you to do?

And let’s look at those affected in the process. Everyone is already facing increased levels of stress and anxiety and if the people leaving your business have already been furloughed for example since March that will be heightened. The outcome will be what it will be but how can you help them through the process in the best possible way? How can you equip them to cope? How can you catch them if they fall? How can you help them secure their next role? And how can you learn from the process?

The quick answer of course is 'mindset'. The evidence of that is in a bespoke offboarding site, featuring the essential support to cater for the needs of all of your key audiences – including of course an online exit survey to help you learn and improve.

It’s not just about doing the right thing however. The financial consideration is also key.

  • You may well want to rehire the staff leaving you in the not too distant future. They can return having been well treated and will be effective much more quickly given their knowledge of your culture and systems. Ask them to put their CV in your talent pool and it won’t cost you a penny in advertising to (re)hire. Get it right and you can also use them as powerful referrers within their existing and new networks.
  • The online exit interview will give you powerful information about the employment experience you deliver - and recommendations on how to improve it as well as your products, services and more.
  • Your managers and remaining staff will feel reassured, trusting and engaged. (Which has to be better than the alternative in each case.)
  • Your improved employer reputation will make hiring easier in the future. A bad reputation always means fewer quality applications and paying higher salaries for mediocre candidates.
  • And if you are the CEO or the HRD you’ll sleep at night. Which isn’t strictly financial, but you’d pay good money to be able to do so.

If you need help ensuring that your offboarding experience is more people centric than process, then get in touch for an initial discussion. Call us on 0117 300 3000 or email: hello@wearedna.co.uK

In categories: Employer Branding
Author: John Tarrant
Date published: 25.06.2020


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