The offboarding penny has dropped

The offboarding penny has dropped

Employers! Right now, recruitment is in your favour but the tide will change. It always does.

A couple of years ago, pre-pandemic, many employers found themselves having to bid and compete for the highest achievers. It truly was a talent market with some candidates having the luxury of comparing and contrasting employers like, ‘eeny meeny, miny, moe - which glassdoor review is it time to show.’

A Glassdoor report from Feb 2020 found, “In the United States, 17.3 percent of job offers (over 1 in 6) are rejected, reflecting a steady increase in offer rejection rates over the last few years. So even when employers find qualified candidates, it’s often difficult to convince those candidates to accept offers”. A similar trend shone through in the UK with 15.7 percent of offers also rejected.

Knocking on the Glassdoor

So let’s learn from the past. Although many organisations have been financially hit by the pandemic, there are just as many that haven’t. That means some industries are still able to enter the ring and fight for talent. Even if your organisation isn’t ready to fight today, there is merit in training for tomorrow to keep your employer brand healthy with glowing Glassdoor reviews.

Glassdoor isn’t everything, or is it? A report from Fractl, revealed that one in three workers has turned down a job offer after reading a negative review. Unsurprisingly it’s disgruntled ex-employees who are most likely to post about their experience.

At nudge, we know that your people are your biggest and best asset. Most organisations tend to agree with us and will invest time, energy, and rewards into retaining the brains behind the operation.

Josh Bersin, recently wrote an article on the real cost of retaining employees that stated from a financial perspective the, ‘total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2X annual salary’. Bersin suggests that hiring employees is not only costly but a massive time suck for your teams, impacting productivity, performance, business outcomes, and ultimately culture. Bersin concludes with:

“The most successful and enduring organizations are those that have a common sense of mission, a deep respect for their employees (and customers of course), and put time, energy, and money into building a highly engaging environment. They carefully select the "right people" with lots of hard work, and once people join they take the time to make sure they have development opportunities to move up the value curve.”

Success means letting your employees know you care and value their contribution. But when the time comes, which it will, if you love them you’ll need to let them go.

Sathnam Sanghera recently wrote, “Given that people nowadays move between jobs so often, with workers in the United States staying in a position for an average of only 4.1 years, the academics Alison Dachner and Erin Makarius believe that companies should dwell on “offboarding” (the art of letting employees go)”.

What is offboarding?

Offboarding is the process of separation between an employee and employer through resignation, termination, or retirement. It encompasses all the activity, decisions and processes that take place when an employee leaves.

Generally, most organisations’ offboarding experience is simply an awkward exit interview with HR and off you go. Sometimes that doesn’t even happen, you might be lucky to get a card and a cringey speech from your manager. Allowing employees to exit without an offboarding plan may leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.

Harvard Business Review recently wrote ‘Turn Departing Employees into Loyal Alumni’ that stated: “Building a humane and well-run offboarding program can have a considerable impact on people’s impression of a firm’s commitment to its workers. The “peak–end rule,” which holds that people judge an experience largely by how they felt at its peak—its most intense point—and at its end, rather than thinking about the sum total of the experience.”

What happens when an employee experiences awesome onboarding?

It’s a small world - in your industry. So burning a bridge with an employee isn’t a good move. Former staff could become future clients, suppliers, boomerang employees, mentors or even brand ambassadors. But advocacy comes at a price. Employee experience doesn’t end the day they hand in their resignation and as we learned earlier, employees remember the middle and the end. Companies who are ahead of the curve know this and make a commitment to their people that goes above and beyond what’s expected.

Forward-looking organisations (who happen to be nudge clients) like Pfizer, City & Guilds and Clifford Chance offer ongoing access to nudge to help their ex-employees continue to prioritise financial wellbeing as big life changes like redundancy or starting a new job, or even moving country, continue to warrant financial consideration, coaching and guidance. In the process, their leavers remain loyal post-employment and talk and refer positively which accumulates into a brilliant employer brand.

Pfizer, City & Guilds and Clifford Chance aren’t alone. LinkedIn gives each ex-employees access to the platforms’ premium subscription. Nestlé has an alumni discount including electronics, travel, cars, and entertainment. Ultimately, organisations like these approach offboarding from a strategic, data-driven and long-term perspective and reap business rewards as a result. What’s not to like?

Here are our top 5 considerations for your offboarding strategy:

  1. Agree on an offboarding objective that supports the people strategy
  2. Connect offboarding plans with the company’s mission, vision, and culture
  3. Similar to the benefits programme, outline your offer and investment to support the organisation’s people and talent ambitions
  4. Tailor your offboarding to suit the employee (i.e. someone who’s in a senior position and been with the company 20 years will need a different level of care in comparison to a graduate completing work experience)
  5. Overall, take the opportunity to learn about your employee experience from your ex-employees as part of the offboarding plan

A considered and thoughtful offboarding with employee wellbeing at the heart of the plan can reduce turnover, improve attraction and create long-term value for both the company and the leaver.

In connection to building brilliant employee experiences here’s our latest, ‘financial wellbeing playbook: how to build the ultimate programme’.


This article was originally published on LinkedIn.