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Make Offboarding as Smooth as Onboarding: Maximizing the Last Stage of the Employee Journey

Krupa Patel January 26, 2021

As we’ve worked our way through the many stages of the employee journey, it’s clear that data-driven communications can make a positive impact in more ways than one. However, the journey inevitably comes to a close when an employee makes the decision to leave. While offboarding may be a difficult stage in the employee journey, departure is natural. And often, the result of a successful employee experience. After all, supporting an employee’s growth into the next stage of their career is ultimately what it’s all about.

Just as it’s important to use timely, relevant communications to make the employee feel supported in the onboarding stage, that approach can make a huge difference in the offboarding stage, too. An employee’s orientation day with the company isn’t their sole opportunity for new hire engagement. Similarly, there’s a wealth of opportunity to engage a departing employee beyond just their exit interview. According to the Evive 2020 Employee Journey Survey, 1 out of 4 employees (25%) did not agree that their onboarding/orientation experience felt structured. One could infer there must be room for improvement in the offboarding experience as well.

Ensure the employee experience doesn’t hit an abrupt and premature end the moment resignation is tendered. Use the same data-driven approach to messaging you’ve used all along to maintain a mutually supportive relationship with your employees as they move on from the company.

Streamline offboarding tasks

There’s plenty to communicate when an employee resigns, from scheduling the exit interview to sharing information about continued benefits. A data-driven communications platform can automate relevant messaging about offboarding activities once the manager reports the resignation to HR and it’s officially recorded.

Such messaging may begin with prompting the HR team to coordinate an exit interview; it could also provide the employee with details as to what to prepare for the interview (so it generates truly helpful information back to the company). Moreover, a timely message could nudge the employee’s manager to write a recommendation or offer to serve as a reference. Not only do these communications make the tasks smoother, they set the stage for a positive alumni experience.

Enable future contact as part of the employee journey

During offboarding, company email addresses are deactivated. Successfully maintaining alumni relationships requires organizations to confirm they have the best, most accurate contact information to reach former employees. Data freshness checks in a rapid-response platform are essential to keeping those lines of communication open.

Even if a company doesn’t have a formal alumni program (if they do, it should definitely be leveraged with ongoing communications), there are numerous needs for communication that can come up. Take a 401(k) or an HSA that is the employee’s to keep, or ERISA-related updates down the line. A sophisticated messaging platform with robust data is what HR leaders need. The platform helps mitigate any compliance concerns around being unable to reach a past employee. It also empowers them with confidence that they can keep a positive rapport going with that individual.

Align alumni messaging with company goals

Finally, think about your specific objectives with alumni communications. Do you want ex-employees to be brand advocates, shopping at your store or purchasing your consumer products? Would you like them to recommend employment with your business to their networks? Are you open to them potentially coming back if the opportunity allows?

Include nudges in your messaging that support these goals. While all the automated, relevant messaging ideas we’ve covered help cultivate these sorts of behavior, additional, goal-specific touches can’t hurt. Especially considering our recent survey finding that only 48% of employees think they’ll be an advocate of their company when they leave it one day (nearly 4 out of 10 are unsure, and the remaining 13% say they won’t be advocates), more on-the-nose messaging can really come in handy.

While the employee journey may end at offboarding, strategic communications ensure the experience with your company does not. When an employee leaves your company, take these steps to continue a meaningful relationship, achieve the outcomes you’re seeking, and keep your network of talent wide.