Do you want to know an often-overlooked difference between top performing companies and the rest of the field? They not only treat their current employees well, but they also look after their former employees. That is right, employee experience does not only apply to employees whilst they are with the organisation, but even after they have left the company. More and more companies are waking up to this fact as well and realising the value of keeping the bond between employer and employee strong well beyond their time in the organization.

Does an employee feel their contribution was appreciated?

The employers that are winning at employee experience are looking at the whole employee experience, this doesn’t mean just looking at making sure they are engaged when they join, it means making sure they are also well treated while they are leaving. There is an old May Angelou quote that says people will forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Now imagine you are an employee who has worked for a company for 10 years and you resign, and the company shows you no appreciation. How are you going to feel about the organisation?

This is what has led to the prevalence of websites such as Glassdoor, it is allowing employees to express their feelings about an employer. When people leave a review, it is often an emotional decision. Now imagine if that same employee received a personal note from the CEO thanking them for their 10 years with the company and they received gifts and a party on their last day. How is the employee going to feel about the company to others in the industry when asked about their experience working there?

Happy former employees mean more business

Microsoft have done a lot of research on employees that leave their company. They have not surprisingly discovered that employees who feel appreciated as the exit will not only remain fans of the brand but will continue to use the company’s products and recommend them to others. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that given these findings that the Microsoft Alumni network encompasses over 35,000 former employees spanning 50 countries.

Deloitte has also long had in place an immense Alumni network, which has over 300,000 members. Deloitte realised in 2000, that not all its employees were going to competitors. A number of their employees were going to join clients or potential clients. Therefore, it was a commercial decision to build the Deloitte Alumni Network. If their employees enjoy working for them and stay connected with the brand, they are more likely to buy services or recommend services from that brand in future. Staying on good terms with former employees is not only good for employee experience, it is also a good business decision.

Top performers will return

The final benefit to an alumni network is that it makes recruiting a lot easier. Deloitte hire roughly 3000 employees a year from their Alumni network. That is 3000 former employees who enjoyed and trusted the organisation so much they decided to return. Most organisations have policies in place that do not let former employees return if they had performed poorly. Sometimes a top performer needs or wants to get broader experience at some point in their careers. Everyone always considers the grass to be greener elsewhere, and it is not always the case. So, by understanding this and managing this well, an organisation paves the way for that person to leave on good terms and want to return.