Five Critical Outcomes When You Treat a Departing Employee with Respect and Dignity

One of the hard truths in business is that employees – no matter how good they are or how much you and your colleagues like them – will come and go. In my recent article, How to Leave a Job Gracefully, I explored how a departing employee should communicate in a way that casts the best light on themselves and their employers during this critical time of transition. But how should communication during that breakup be handled from the employer’s perspective?

While thankfully it’s not true everywhere, we’ve all heard stories of employees suffering in some way during the final days of their tenure at any given company. Whether they’ve been there six months or six years, they’ve decided that it’s time to move on, and we as employers have a duty to support their decision. Demonstrating that through respectful communication can pay huge dividends for you and your company in the future.

The fact is, the two sides of the relationship are not as different as they may seem. For example, if your soon-to-be-former employee is authentic as he or she manages the transition, it will automatically convey respect and dignity. This will allow you, the employer, the time to recover with minimal disruption. A deferential exchange, which includes you and your employee treating one another in an appreciative and professional manner, is sure to yield several critical positive outcomes:

·        The departing employee will be pleasant and positive. That means minimal disruption across the office. The alternative can result in gossip and animosity among the ranks, and it can lead to diminished productivity across the board.

·        The departing employee will protect your company. You can rest easy knowing that a continued mutually respectful relationship with open and honest lines of communication will reduce any risk of your departing employee doing harm, be it with staff, with systems, or with customers.

·        The departing employee will feel welcomed back in the future. In fact, we’ve had two former employees return this year. There’s a compound benefit here: it sends a great message to existing staff and customers, and the on-boarding process is effectively eliminated.

·        The departing employee will leave with a good taste in his or her mouth, and will be likely to become a brand champion for your company. And while their word-of-mouth recommendations may be highly valuable, the ubiquity of social media allows them to further promote the company in a positive way. Conversely, there’s an inherent risk with the existence of sites like GlassDoor. The opportunity cost associated with an inauthentic and tense breakup can be devastating. My company, Speakeasy, currently enjoys a rating of 4.5 on GlassDoor. That rating could easily suffer if we didn’t treat our employees, departing or not, with respect and dignity.

·        The departing employee will lead to future business. Often, a former employee becomes a direct customer or refers others that do. Your corporate network is as important as your own professional network, and all your employees are members of it. I extend an offer for ongoing communication as many good things have come from those post-employment relationships, including growth to my business.

Even if you’re upset about a great employee leaving it’s essential that you send them off with a smile, especially given all the good that can come from a mutually respectful and graceful split.

Scott Weiss, CEO – Speakeasy, Inc. and Author of the Amazon Best Seller “DARE!”