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Advice to Management: Improve Employee Offboarding through Relationship Building

“Turn Departing Employees into Loyal Alumni: A Holistic Approach to Offboarding.” Harvard Business Review (2021)

Employee turnover rates aren’t what they used to be; they are much higher.  Boler Associate Professor Alison Dachner and her coauthor Erin Makarius from the Univesity of Akron note that the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts average employee tenure at just over four years, and they suggest the rate of job turnover is only increasing.  People change jobs for a host of reasons today, some through involuntary separation, others leave their current job by choice.  In the former case, employees may receive severance pay and job outplacement as part of a departure package.  In the latter case, employees often engage in perfunctory exit interviews with bosses or the HR departments and turn in the company items such as keys and computers on their way out the door.  Dachner and Makarius argue this represents a missed opportunity to learn from departing employees and to strengthen the natural former employer-employee bond.  They point out that a more thoughtful approach to offboarding can benefit companies in a variety of ways.  Enhancing the company’s reputation as an employer, improving retention, and netting new sales are a few potential benefits companies may gain by fostering an alumni culture among former employees.  According to Dachner and Makarius, enlightened offboarding can be value enhancing for both sides of the departure.

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