One of the key elements to a positive leaving experience is to actually say goodbye to an employee and recognise their contributions while with the organisation. It allows the organisation to let the employee know that it appreciated the time they spent with the company and the work they did. It provides an opportunity to wish them luck in their next role and even allows co-workers to also express their own sentiments to their colleague who is leaving. Sadly, many organisations neglect leaver experience and don’t even acknowledge that an employee is leaving. This leads to both the employee leaving and their co-workers feeling less positive about the organisation as they feel it does not value its people or their contributions. It plays into the narrative that has been around since the 1980s that employees are now disposable commodities. So how can you ensure a leaver feels recognised and appreciated?
Write them a card
Let’s start with an obvious one, get the employee a card. Have the bosses and employees all sign the card and write stories of the memories they have from their time working together. This can include a variety of items. Perhaps it is a memory of a project that was worked on, maybe a funny story from a team bonding event, or maybe something more personal as you have also become friends outside of the office. In addition to talking about the memories, the employee should also be congratulated on securing a new role and wished luck for the future.
Send an official email
The organisation should also send a formal email across the business or team (Depending on size of organisation) formally documenting all of the contributions that the employee has made while being with the company. This should be an extensive email listing all of the work the employee has done during their tenure. Business as usual activities, extra projects, feedback from peers and managers to really highlight what the employee did and how that brought value. The email should end by congratulating the employee on their new role and wishing them future success.
Buy them a gift
Next is to also provide them with a leaving gift. This can be something spectacular or something small, but it should be meaningful. Budgets can be tight, but colleagues will usually be willing to chip in to help get something awesome, but tailor it to the individual and their own circumstances. For example, a colleague was once moving to another country, so their manager and colleagues bought them a travel guide for the new country, a translation book of useful phrases and a cookbook of recipes for that country. It did not really cost that much but was helpful and also showed the employee that they wished them well and wanted them to adapt and succeed in the new role.
Throw a party
Finally, there is no better way to say goodbye to an employee and let them feel valued than to host some sort of leaving event in their honour. This may be a full-blown party, or it may be something as simple as a team lunch. But it allows colleagues, managers, and the company as a whole to show their gratitude in person for the contributions of the employee and personally wish them luck in their new role. Everyone can have some good food and / or drinks, share stories and reminisce. A great time is had by all and the employee leaves the organisation feeling valued and respected.