When Employees Leave

June 21, 2016
When Employees Leave

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are a great opportunity for you, as a small business owner or entrepreneur, to garner information and feedback about your company so that you can use this information to make your company stronger.

A well-managed exit interview can reveal information small-business owners can act on to improve their operations, such as uncovering patterns that may signal concerns. There could be issues in teams, or discrepancies in policies or procedures that are negatively impacting staff and productivity – or issues that affect your company’s culture.

The value of the exit interview really depends on the skill of the interviewer, and their ability to make the employee feel comfortable and receive feedback without getting defensive.

Information gathered from exit interviews should be evaluated and weighed. Consider the source and the circumstances to determine the accuracy of what was conveyed. You should know when some information should be discounted and when it shouldn’t.

Another outcome of the exit interview is to have the departing employee leave feeling as good as possible and with positive feelings about the company.

Your Company’s “Alumni”

Losing a valued employee is difficult. Turnover is costly as it means recruitment, acquisition and training costs. In addition, there is the psychological and emotional stress on you as the boss and on other employees as well.

However, the “loss” can be turned into a future advantage if you maintain a positive relationship with them, which means that you part on constructive and friendly terms. If an employee is seeking a position that is more suited to them or more challenging, it is best to wish them well. Think of how they have developed at your company, which is a tribute to your leadership and culture. Your company is on their resume. Excellent employees are a badge of honor for your company.

Former employees can be ambassadors for your company as they are now your alumni. They can provide referrals, contacts and in many cases, send business or clients your way. They may be able to continue to provide information on new talent, opportunities, or product markets. Also, they may decide to rejoin your firm – something referred to as “boomerang employees.” So, parting ways with great employees can create future opportunities for your company.

Taking a Bow

What if you are the one transitioning out of your current position as a founder or executive? You should consider the impact of your behavior as you exit. Whether the exit is forced or voluntary, the style in which you depart has ramifications on your legacy and reputation.

Memories are shaped by peak moment experiences, whether those moments are good or bad. So your exit behavior is revealing. If you boast about your accomplishments or take revenge on people, you will be remembered as selfish and egocentric. If you thank your team, mend fences and continue to be positive, you will be remembered as a selfless leader.

In particular, people will pay attention to how you treat your successor. They will watch your body language as you interact, and notice if you are paying them lip service or trying to sabotage the changeover. You will create a constructive memory if you step back graciously, and are helpful during the transition – acknowledging your successor’s full authority.

Just as when you first took a leadership role, all eyes are watching and judging you as you exit that position.

Key strategies for when an employee gives their notice.

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