Former employees can act as "alumni ambassadors" for the company they are leaving if the exit is handled properly, according to one workforce management company.
Michele Glorie, communications manager at Massachussets-headquartered Kronos, said exiting employees are likely to be future customers, partners or even return to the company as so-called boomerang workers. Glorie said that 200 former Kronos employees have returned to the company after leaving.
"The idea of considering newly exited employees as new members of a company 'alumni group' is an emerging trend, because companies recognize that it is advantageous to maintain a positive connection with prior employees," Glorie told HR Daily Wire.
She added that social media sites such as GlassDoor and LinkedIn create what is referred to as the “naked organization,” where employees and former employees can testify to the overall reputation of an organization.
There are pitfalls, Glorie notes, because it does take some effort to create a network and because this approach is non-traditional. But the advantages are that it boosts or preserves the company's reputation with key stakeholders and creates network and resources for future business or employment opportunities. Overall, the approach to offboarding should be based on trust and transparency.
"We have a simple, transparent performance management process," Glorie said. "We are straight forward in our communications and actions when it is clear that it’s not working. Kronos, like many other companies, is moving away from drawn-out (and frankly painful and disingenuous 'performance improvement' plans) and toward open, honest conversations about performance all along the way. Once it becomes clear that employee will not be able to meet performance expectations, we exit them and support them in a way that preserves the relationship, including providing severance and outplacement support that goes above and beyond industry average."
Some companies are concerned about the legal risk of not going through a drawn out, performance management process, Glorie said.
"Kronos minimizes or eliminates this risk by preserving a healthy, transparent, respectful and supportive relationship with the employee throughout the process," she said. But this does involve a bigger investment and a different mindset "to handle the process the way we do."
Ultimately, the way companies treat employees on the way out, whether voluntary or involuntary, will affect the relationship they have with them as alumni.
"Plus, treating employees with this kind of support is just part of what our culture stands for, regardless of where the employee is in their employment life cycle," Glorie said. "Our approach to development is aimed to help employees be more marketable for opportunities here or elsewhere."