Employee turnover is a natural part of any business, but there is a right and a wrong way to handle it. When businesses focus on employee experience, they seem to think that this means focus on employees when they join. But true employee experience focuses on the entire end to end journey of an employee life cycle. This means that an employee leaving the organisation is still part of employee experience. Sadly, many businesses get this part of employee experience wrong. The reason is that they fail to communicate effectively with the team that a person is leaving. They act like someone leaving is some super-secret thing that cannot be discussed or mentioned, and this leads to a lack of trust from not just the employee leaving, but also the wider team. After all, they know their employer is not be completely honest with them. So how should a business communicate when an employee decides to leave?
Share the news immediately
When an employee resigns it is incredibly important to share this news with the team as soon as possible. This is not just because it is required to create a positive employee experience, but it is incredibly practical and helpful to the business as a whole. One of the main reasons why so much knowledge is lost during a handover is because there is very rarely a proper handover in place. This is because, most organisations usually insist on not letting the wider team know someone is leaving until the last minute and so naturally something is going to get forgotten. By ensuring everyone knows that an employee is leaving, it means everyone who interacts with the person knows they need to make sure everything is in place to ensure a smooth transition for when that person moves on.
The other reason it is important to share the news of a resignation immediately is because forcing an employee to keep something like this a secret actually puts them under a lot of pressure, especially when going through a transition is already incredibly hard. If they are not allowed to tell people, they will be on calls talking about project due in 3 months knowing they are not going to be there. The organisation basically forces them to lie to their colleagues. It is not a nice feeling. It also then causes employees in the wider organisation to cast doubt on the transparency of leadership. After all, if they are trying to keep something as simple as an employee leaving to join another company a secret, what else are they not telling their employees?!
Keep it positive
No business likes to lose employees. A lot is written about high performer retention, but even average performing employees who may not be Rockstar’s, contribute a lot to the organisation over time. They become friends with their co-workers and part of the overall ecosystem. They may not be revolutionising the industry, but they are keeping things ticking over and this is often underrated. In addition, if you work with someone every day for a few years, they are going to be missed when they leave. If the performer is a high performer, it is also going to have a huge impact on the performance of the team. This is no reason to turn someone leaving in to a negative.
The best businesses actually see resignations as a positive. After all, an employee joined the company a couple of years ago, learnt some new skills, contributed some good work and the environment provided by the company allowed this person to get an even better opportunity. Isn’t that fantastic? Not only is the employee getting a great new opportunity, but it is good for the employer brand as the company is developing good people and helping them further their careers!
Arrange a time for goodbyes and recognition
Finally, its important to arrange a time to allow everyone to get to say their goodbyes to the employee that has resigned. This may be as simple as a team lunch or as extravagant as a full-blown leaving party. Let the team know when this will be and also take some time to recognise all of the contributions made by the departing employee. This helps to leave the door open for a return in the future. The last thing you want to do is let an employee who spent a significant period of time with the company feel unappreciated. Especially as former employees are a great source of new business referrals and act as brand ambassadors and talent referrers if they leave an organisation on good terms.