Employee offboarding is often considered to be the end of an era between employer and employee. But it can also be the beginning of an entirely new relationship with the departing employee – if their manager handles the transition like a boss.
In our latest Power Hour, we did a deep dive on effective employee onboarding. That is, how to handle an employee’s transition out of your company. We focused on this moment in the employee lifecycle because we know it’s one that truly matters to both employee and manager alike, and can have a long-lasting positive impact if handled well.
In this article we summarize the gems of wisdom delivered by The Mintable’s Head of Learning, Trisha Duffy. Keep reading for the inside scoop.
Voluntary vs involuntary offboarding: not all terminations are made equal
As we all know, there’s more than one way to leave a company. It can be by choice in search of greener pastures, or, under more unfortunate circumstances.
A voluntary termination is simply an employee-initiated resignation. When an employee quits, to put it bluntly. Usually these employees are leaving for another opportunity or for personal reasons.
An involuntary termination is an umbrella term used to describe all departures from a company that are decidedly not the employee’s choice. These include anything from conduct- or performance-based terminations to redundancies due to a company-wide reorg or staff reductions on account of budget constraints.
Suffice it to say, not all employee terminations are made equal and as such, managers need to approach each and every situation with empathy and nuance.
Find the silver lining
Not every offboarding ends in ill-feelings – and nor should they! Voluntary offboardings and even some involuntary offboardings can happen in contexts that leave both manager and departing employee with anything from mutual respect and understanding, to warm fuzzies.
Many departing employees will remain mentors or friends with former colleagues, and become a partner, vendor or indeed brand evangelist for the company. Recent studies have shown approximately 15% of former employees will boomerang back to organizations they’ve left.
If you nail the notoriously difficult moment of an employee’s departure, managers can not only gain an advantage for the organization, but an opportunity to develop a strong alumni network of top performers for themselves.
People will remember not just how you treated them when they worked for you, but how you let them go.
But how, you ask?
1. Make a communication plan
Creating a thoughtful communication plan is the first step.
A communication plan is simply a blueprint for who needs to know about the termination, and when. Consider the primary stakeholders in the process: HR, your own manager or leadership team and those who worked closely with the departing employee from across the business
Each stakeholder will likely need the message conveyed in a way that takes into account the nuance of the relationship to the employee, including contingency plans if relevant.
2. Have exit conversations with empathy
It may seem like empathy is an innate skill but it is, in fact, something that can be learned by every manager. Centering the employee in any involuntary or voluntary exit conversation is the first step.
Voluntary resignations can bring up all kinds of emotions for managers, especially if it’s a top performer leaving. Feelings can range from sheer panic to sadness and betrayal. First things first: take a pause..
Try to find a more empathetic response by showing curiosity about their decision. Then, if appropriate, try to engage in a “stay” conversation.
Remember: you don’t need to convince every leaving team member to stay. Their departure may represent an opportunity for even better talent to come through your doors.
No matter what – always let them know you’re there for them after they leave the company. Keep in touch and keep working together where possible.
A huge thank you to our Mintable Managers who joined us for the session and asked the important questions. To get the full recap video, just login to our content library. And if you missed our previous manager Power Hour on performance reviews, you can catch up here.
Power Hours are included in all AdvanceMint memberships. Are you a manager and want to see how The Mintable can give you the training, tools, and community to succeed? Learn more and join us here.
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