Making a graceful exit

16 May 2017

If you work in any of the industries that we serve, you have to accept that staff moving on is a reality. The days of loyal employees seeking a job for life are long gone. To illustrate this, in our most recent Digital Salary and Insights Report we found that 63% of our respondents were considering a job change in the year ahead.

There’s a temptation among some employers to see those leaving as disloyal, untrustworthy and a disruptive influence. What many fail to understand is that a well-managed exit process is advantageous not only to the employee but also the employer. Go check your staff records. How many people left your company in the last year? The last two years? Ask yourself this, did they leave on good terms and would you consider them friends to your business?

Propel Together have known a few managers who don’t care about the answers and I know even more who don’t know. Who cares what ex-employees think?  Well if that’s your attitude then it’s quite possible that you are going to run into some issues down the line.

The trouble is that the digital industry is not that big and tends to be clustered in hubs. The other issue is that the digital industry is a very sociable one. There’s lots of meet ups, awards nights and evening drinks where one disaffected employee can really let rip. And that’s where your problems can start..

As your business grows and matures its inevitable that you will have more and more former staff out in the market. Are they telling others about what a great time they had at your company or are they putting off potential recruits?

You only need to take a look at Glassdoor to see how unhappy employees can lay into former companies.  As more and more candidates check out a company’s before they interview, you don’t want to be the guys with a 1-star rating. Firstly, it is going to make attracting the right staff more difficult. I’ve also heard of clients looking at agency Glassdoor ratings as well and a low rating could lead to some difficult questions in a pitch situation.

So we’ve put together a short list of tips to think about when an employee resigns.

1-    Be the grown up. Accept resignations gracefully and try to come to a mutual agreement about notice periods There’s no point keeping somebody around who might become problematic but also don’t throw them out the door if they have a project to complete.

2-    Work to a process and make sure all managerial staff know that process. Don’t lock a resigning employee in a meeting room until you can find the MD of Head of HR to find out what needs to happen next!

3-    Never let an employee leave without an exit interview. Make sure you understand their reasons for leaving, find out what you could do better. I’m always amazed when people tell me they have not had an exit interview as it’s a great way to defuse any issues that might be festering.

4-    Have an effective and honest communications policy when staff members resign. Don’t try and hide it as it will leak out and when it does, you have lost control of the message.

5-    Try and go to leaving parties. Even buy a round! It will be worth it in the long run.

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