In my first article about „separation culture & management“ in organisation i highlighted the importance of it with regard to employee experience in all phases and touchpoints, especially in a hotly competitive market of talents: During the application, during the working-collaboration, but also during the separation. A good employer brand is not created by recruiting days and a great digital onboarding process, but rather through active appreciation, transparency and comprehensible behavior, even during transitions. Especially in those emotionally critical situations previously made promises and lived corporate values prove their worth. It is the strategies of the HR Business Partners and the management, respectively the board of directors, which lead to a good corporate culture that is authentic and honest.
The Kienbaum study several years ago said that 70 % of the companies who particiapte in the study do not have a separation culture, a strategy or even a concept. With the support of the survey tool in Linkedin, i have started my own research.
37 voices participated in my poll. 40 % of the people haven’t ever experienced an excellent off-boarding / exit management at their employer. To my opinion this number is really high and shows great potential for human resources to make this phase for the employer as good as the other touchpoints.
What are the benefits of a great separation culture and exit management?
- Pro-actively manage the change within the remaining team so that the team performance does not suffer off the redundancy
- People leaders know how to carry out dismissal interviews with respect, appreciation and dignity -> personal relation between employee and his manager is the key to succecss
- Like the beginning of a new job, the seperation of the old job is also something people talk about at parties, reunions and family events. So a good seperation experience will also be spread out to the outside world and thus, positively influence the employer brand and reputation
- Evaluation platforms: People who decided to leave the company can also be invited to evaluate the employer and the exit process on glassdoor, google or kununu (evaluation plattform) and state their wow-moments there
- The feedback of employees who voluntarily leave the organisation is very valuable. They reflect the pains of an organisation and show HR and the management the blind spots with regard to employee experience and needs
- Alumni-communities can be build up in order to hire the talents in the future again à boomerangs are always good a catch for companies
Boomerang - Recruiting
The employee must also be aware at this stage that his reputation depends on how he behaves in these last days or weeks. If the employee shows commitment and loyalty until the end, if he is open to the transfer of knowledge, if he hands over his area of responsibility conscientiously, and much more is decisive for the last lasting impression as to whether reemployment can be considered by the alumni.
1st Best Practice in Separation Management
Yes, separations are not easy. The best experience from an ex-employee at ZF was when his old boss and HR authentically asked him what they had to change so that he would not resign? This simple question in the exit interview was really discussed. The employee felt heard and appreciated. Feedback is welcomed. The following question is important: what is the cause for the dismissal/resignition? As an opportunity for the manager and the organisation to improve their behaviour, values and processes? Is the resignition of he employee a structural and procedural reasons? Or the lack of promoting or even praising employees? ZF is an example for an employer with an open feedback culture even in the last phase of the employee life-cycle. The act accordingly their corporate values in the exit-management process.
For a global player like ZF it is much more valuable to keep employees within a group than to let them go without fighting to retain them. Especially in such large organisations, you have a large number of employees who change job, and to be honest that is an important source. ZF left a good impression at this ex-employee. In his mind ZF has a very good image until the last working days and afterwards. But he also confirms that a good separation management really depends on the manager/people leader. He also had bad experience with the exit-management at other global player where criticism and open feedback was not welcomed. This company had the attitude to already be a great and attractive employer without any weakness. Last but not least, a good seperation culture depends on the managers and their way of copying with people and seprations. They have to deceide to make the lasts months for all participants warm and respectful with a great handover of projects and tasks or to leave the remaining team speechless, the ex-employee disappointed and the handover inefficient.
nd Best Practice in Separation Management
I want to highlight another good practice from an ex-employee at E.ON Inhouse Consulting. As Marielaine resigned her job and talked to her team lead, she recognized in the words and attiude of her team lead a true and authentic feeling of sadness and regret. At the same moment she was congratulated her on her new challenge. Marielaine was actively involved in the communication strategy of her leaving into her team and into the organisation. Managers as well as colleagues were truly interested in Marielaine‘s reason to leave E.ON Inhouse Consulting. They showed a strong interested in her as a person and a valuable member of the community. Her colleagues felt happy for her for the new challenge even though it was not with them. She felt appreciated, especially by her team and team lead.
For the organisation as well as the team it was a good initiative to involve Marielaine in the handover planning of her tasks and projects. Together they developed a good plan. „At no point in time during the remaining 3 months I had the feeling I cannot leave this place like this; I was always given the feeling that everything I did, my whole work, was appreciated and still will be once I am gone and that it will – sort of – last.“, says Marielaine. Another really powerful moment that matters for the employees is the goodbye ceremony. Marielaine had a very, very sweet last working day with her former E.ON Inhouse Consulting colleagues. Everyone met in the coffee kitchen, super kind words from both sides, presents and best wishes. What a great experience for the people who leave and remain. The goodbye present, a photo frame with all good moments together, was such a nice idea that Marielaine still looks at it in her living room today. Wow, I am speechless.
Also the exit-interview was structured by gathering the exact reasons for her leaving and also kindly asking for room for improvement. Looking at Marielaine’s experience of the offboarding process at E.ON Inhouse Consulting she always had the feeling of being seen as a human. This feeling is so important not only for the leavers, but also for the remaining people in the team and organisation. In Marielaine’s point of view she was simply seen as a person that strives for change. No one took it personally that she took up a new challenge outside the company. She is also convinced that the offboarding process tells you a lot about the real culture of an organization and the mindset of the key players in that culture.
As an employer branding expert I see a lot of potential to improve this last phase of the employee life cycle within an organisation, so that it is a win-win-situation for all parties. HR but also the business and the management should pay attention to it, because this also influences the stakeholder value management.
Last, but not least I am going to continue my research and will provide you more insights about separation management at other companies.