Nobody likes it when people talk about you behind your back. But that happens on many occasions when we leave an organization. Former colleagues and bosses talk about us or blame us for leaving work unfinished.
Social media has made it easy to keep track of former colleagues. I know of a boss who used to search his former team members on social media. He would look up to see where they were working or if they even found a job.
We hear it often that people do not leave an organization, they leave their bosses or leaders. Most leaders are aware of the real reason why a team member has quit. Some of them, instead of acknowledging the reason and taking corrective steps, create stories that they think make them look good.
It is true a former employee cannot do much if you are saying things behind their back. But your current team members and colleagues are watching your actions and words. They are wondering, if this is how you treat a former employee, you will do the same when we leave. So, what does that do to employee engagement?
You are a leader in your team, department, or organization. You can help create a positive work environment through your actions.
When an employee leaves the organization, you can send an email to the rest of the team or inform in a meeting that the employee has left. If the employee shares a reason for leaving in their exit interviews, you can share that with the team. Make sure to check with the employee if you can share it with the team. Sending this message on time is important. If there is no formal update, informal guesswork will start.
Once you have sent a formal update to the team, assign the open tasks to the next person and offer them support. They might report to you unfinished tasks or missing data or information, blaming the former employee. Do not encourage the blaming. If the former employee was working under your supervision, then you as well share the responsibility for those errors or unfinished tasks. Instead of spending time in such discussions, fix the issues and move on. Also do not forget to have better managing practices in the future so you do not end up in the same situation with other team members.
Sometimes, we have seen that former employees do not want to stay in contact with the employer. You might have heard the term ghosting. If a high volume of employees ghost it may raise questions about the work environment. Something to think about.
Remember that tools like online reviews, comments are available to former employees as well. Businesses may want to stay in contact with them and maintain positive relationships post-employment.
A final note. Employment relationships are somewhat like other personal relationships. Because we are people who have emotions, dreams, goals. It is best to treat others the way you want to be treated by them. That is the most respectful thing we can do.
If you need help with your policies and processes, please contact us for a free consultation.