It’s always a little hard to say goodbye to an employee, especially when they’ve been an invaluable part of your company’s growth and success. As a good employer, you want to ensure that you part on good terms with your employees and wish them the best of luck in their careers.
However, a resignation doesn’t have to spell goodbye forever. Fostering a working relationship that extends well beyond their time in the company can be advantageous for both you and your ex-employee.
With 80% willing to return to a past employer, ex-employees present an untapped opportunity for employers. Ex-employees remain a viable option for supporting future talent pipelines. Plus, they also make some of the best brand ambassadors and can potentially turn into your future customers or clients.
Keeping the communication lines open with your best talent after they leave can be useful in strengthening your competitive edge in the market. Here’s how you can keep the conversation going.
1. Set up a well-planned exit process
Get off on the right foot. Keeping your ex-employees invested for the long-term requires some effort from your end at the start. And, that usually begins from a well-executed exit interview process.
Exit interviews offer organisations important information about why your talent might be leaving, how you can improve retention rates, and keep in touch with them for future opportunities.
A well-planned exit interview also offers insight into your ex-employee’s aspirations, future plans, and how you can best contact them if the need arises.
Feeling valued, especially at the exit interview, can nurture feelings of mutual understanding.
2. Keep them in the loop with an alumni programme
An alumni programme that offers benefits is one way to keep ex-employees engaged.
Not a new initiative, companies like Deloitte and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) employ several engagement strategies to keep their ex-employees informed. Quarterly newsletters, networking events, and training sessions are some examples.
Alumni programmes do not need to be extravagant. Something as simple as a LinkedIn group for smaller companies that offers updates on company events, networking sessions, and coaching opportunities suffices for a start. You’ll only need administrative support and a willing group of alumni to start!
Giving your ex-employees multiple reasons to stay connected is how you can continue to nurture a beneficial working relationship.
3. Personalise your communication
Keeping in touch with your ex-employees is best done with tailored messaging. For example, information that might appeal to the young and rising 28-year-old entrepreneur may not strike a chord with a retired CEO.
With various communication channels and social media platforms available, pushing content that is specific to different groups of ex-employees is possible. Segment your alumni groups and personalise your messages to them, so that you remain relevant to their needs as well.
Depending on the size of your company and alumni network, regular check-ins can be done monthly or bi-monthly. Always ensure that you’re sending your ex-employees useful and valuable content. That way, they’ll appreciate the effort!
4. Invite them to social events
It’s always a good idea to reconnect with your ex-employees in person. Virtual communication bridges the distance and keeps short conversations easy to manage in our busy days. However, in-person networking lets you deepen the ties.
Invite the relevant alumni groups for various social and networking events held by your company. Not only will they feel included but it also leaves a positive impression on your current employees as they observe how the company treats the employee base.
“There is this silent majority, called alumni, who have great views they can share that would impact culture, that would impact the brand, that would impact employee engagement and talent strategy,” remarks Andrea Legnani, director of alumni relations at Citigroup in New York City.
Staying connected with your ex-employees is a sustainable and effective long-term strategy for keeping your company’s goals positive.