Most companies have carefully outlined procedures for onboarding employees that are designed to make employees feel welcomed and competent while learning the lay of the land. Unfortunately, most companies do not put nearly as much effort into making sure that employees are treated well during offboarding. Whether employees are terminated or resign, however, it is in a company’s best interest to make sure that employees are treated well as they leave.

Maintaining Company Reputation

Former employees are often seen as an honest source for information about how a company is to work for or deal with. When an employee is treated fairly during the last days of employment, the employee is more likely to speak well of the company and recommend the company to friends and family for services and even employment options. When an employee is treated poorly during the last days, however, that employee has limitless capacity to badmouth the company on the internet, to friends and relatives, and to anyone else that will listen.

Keeping Employee in Candidate Pool

It is not uncommon for employees to go back to previous employers. Called “boomerang rehires,” previous employees are productive much more quickly and can save companies training dollars. When employees were treated well on the way out, they are much more likely to come back to a company than if they left with a bad taste.

Company Referral Source

Departing employees often know others in the same field that may be looking for a job. When employees depart under amicable circumstances, they may be willing to refer a friend or acquaintance that is qualified and interested in the position. This becomes much less likely when an employee is treated poorly during the last days or weeks of employment with a company.

Recruiting from Alumni Groups

Many companies have started to create “alumni groups” as a way for former employees to stay in touch with one another. When employers create alumni groups, it shows employees that they are valued on a personal level beyond their worth as an employee. Alumni groups also make great employee candidate pools when a company wants to fill a specific position.

Maintaining Personal Connections

Besides making good business sense, treating employees well during offboarding is compassionate and will make an employee more likely to visit the workplace and maintain contact with former coworkers and managers. Managers often invest a lot of time and effort into training employees and while it may be painful to have employees leave, it may sometimes be best for the employee. Great managers understand that moving on is sometimes the best way for employees to continue to develop and will sincerely applaud employees for the opportunity that they are leaving to pursue.

Identifying Areas for Improvement

Departing employees that are treated well are more likely to deliver honest and unbiased evaluations about what could be improved within the organization. Departing employees can be a great source for this type of information, as they do not have the same fears as employees that are staying on. Departing employees may be more likely to call out a manager that is harming productivity or give an opinion on a policy that is not ideal.