While many companies know the importance of a good employee onboarding strategy, many don’t consider the offboarding process. Departing employees may seem like they have nothing more to offer, but their input can provide valuable insights that can help companies stop their best talent from leaving in the future. Here are three reasons an offboarding strategy is critical for retention and solutions to improve it.
Why Offboarding Is Important for Employee Retention?
Many Job Departures Are Preventable
There are a number of reasons an employee decides to hand in their resignation, ranging from stagnant career growth, disconnection among coworkers, to issues with the company’s culture.
In many cases, businesses could have tried harder to retain their best talent. The Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report indicates that employers could have prevented three out of four turnovers.
As the graph below shows, companies directly influenced numerous areas that caused employees to quit, such as career development and management behavior.
Offboarding employees effectively helps companies reduce preventable staff turnover because they come to understand an employee’s decision to leave. This stage of the working relationship also gives HR departments a chance to inquire if the company could have done anything to avoid the employee leaving and use the input going forward.
Strong company culture is essential for boosting employee retention rates. According to research by Glassdoor, 77% of participants in the Mission & Culture Survey said that company culture would influence their decision to apply (or not apply) for a job.
Well-defined company cultures motivate employees to stick around for several reasons, including:
A sense of community in the workplace
The opportunity to be part of a greater vision
Making an impact by engaging in meaningful work
Discussing engagement with employees during the offboarding process allows HR teams to identify weaknesses in their company culture. When asked in a low-pressure, empathetic environment, departing staff are likely to share their opinions. HR teams can use this feedback to make the necessary improvements.
Understand What You’re Doing Well
While employees often leave for negative reasons, that doesn’t mean that companies should only focus on what they’re doing poorly. Improving employee retention is an ongoing process—and even if HR teams aren’t yet where they want to be, chances are that they’re doing at least a few things well.
Sometimes, employees will leave a business because their time there came to a natural end. They’ll likely have some fond memories from their time with the company, such as the opportunity to be part of an innovative and inclusive workplace.
Asking for positive feedback during offboarding is also essential for retention because it helps HR teams to focus and optimize their efforts.
How to Improve Your Offboarding Strategy for Better Employee Retention?
Use surveys for a better picture of what works and what doesn’t
All offboarding processes should include an exit interview, where the departing employee can talk to both their manager and a member of HR. While these sessions are often productive, it’s important to remember that employees might not be 100% honest when talking face to face. Under pressure, they might also forget to say some things they want to share before leaving.
To glean more information, exit interviews should include surveys that allow employees to share their thoughts without feeling the pressure of people around them. HR teams can get answers to specific questions that employees might not be open to provide in the exit interview.
Communication is essential between businesses and employees. Naturally, employees will need to begin winding down their workload and handing over projects as their last day approaches. Shutting them out of the company the moment they’ve handed in their resignation is a mistake.
During the offboarding process, maintaining the same level of communication as before they handed in their notice is vital. Doing so will make team members more likely to share information and help keep transparency between both parties.
Maintaining communication during the offboarding phase also shows the employee that they are appreciated — which could open the door to future collaboration.
When planning an offboarding strategy, companies must examine their objectives and long-term vision. This helps formulate relevant questions and talking points, and how they treat departing employees will reflect how well defined their company culture is.
Once HR teams have identified the corporate values and priorities, they should be front-of-mind during conversations with departing employees. This is an opportunity to learn what that person perceived as a negative experience and why, and what the company can improve upon or do differently in the future to retain top talent.
Here are six questions to ask during an exit interview. Note: some are to do with personal choices, some address aspects of the job, and others relate to the company as a whole.
What factors led you to seek another job?
Was there anything we could have done to convince you to stay?
Did you feel as though you had the tools and support necessary to do your work?
Did you have any opportunities for career development?
What would you change to make this company a better place to work?
Do you see any challenges our company could face in the future?
Get Your Offboarding Strategy Right and Boost Your Company Culture
While many companies have historically ignored the offboarding part of an employee’s journey, more have grown aware of how much it can improve their employee retention strategy. Often, team members have insights that managers and HR teams often miss—making them essential resources for improvement.
Above all, HR executives must define and focus on their company culture. Departing employees are in a key position to help organizations understand how well they are meeting their targets, and revealing what needs to change to attract and retain talent.
To find out how Engagedly can help your team reach its objectives, request a demo today.
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Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 15,000 companies all around the world track time.
Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better.
When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.
Chandler Barr is the VP of Sales at Engagedly and is focused on driving a culture of progress over perfection in a no-fault environment where employees are secure and encouraged to think creatively to solve problems. Chandler is a seasoned leader that has scaled sales teams for SaaS startups and multibillion-dollar publicly traded tech companies, as well as, led Marines to accomplish the mission during hardships overseas.