Providing Closure with an Employee Exit Process

Actual Comments of Why Employees Leave
“I just want to say that I think of the people here as my extended family. I worked here for over 8 years and it saddens me that this is how my journey ended. I did not receive a proper goodbye like all of the other technicians or interns with a cake and formal notice for my co-workers. It was just like I was there one day and gone the next.”

The Solution:
If reading this quote gave you a twinge of something bad in your guts, then you’ll want to make sure you’re providing adequate closure to all your exiting long-term employees—even if they’re part-time or—possibly in the case of this employee—on a long-term contract (freelance).

The idea that interns received better send-offs than someone who had worked nearly a decade for the company, and who had obviously made deep bonds with co-workers, is certainly a cringe-worthy one that rings of unfairness.

And that unfairness extends, as well, to the rest of the company’s employees who might have appreciated a more formal, customary employee exit process for their long-time co-worker.

To have such a fixture at the company (eight years) suddenly leave without fanfare or formal notice from the business might have left the remaining employees, his or her friends, and acquaintances, feeling empty as well.

Perhaps policy for announcing and observing departures did not extend to contract workers, who are technically self-employed, even if they perform work on-site and over long periods of time.

Or, pure conjecture: might the company have decided out of discomfort or the fear of embarrassment not to “make a big deal” out of the layoff of a group of workers whose long-term project had been terminated or reached a stage where they were no longer needed?

Was there fear that applying the typical employee exit process  (the one that interns got) would have called attention to the departure of workers who might have felt some bitterness or disappointment? And that a cake and formal notice sent out company-wide would have been awkward for management, the workers themselves or the other salaried employees who were not laid off? Food for thought.

We would argue that as human resources professionals, it’s a best practice that all workers receive proper closure regardless of their particular employment arrangement with the company. It’s not uncommon for ExitRight interviewers to witness heartfelt expressions of emotion. Leaving a job is a profound life event. Marking and observing transitions is important to people who leave and important to people who remain.

Everyone understands that business is business and that business decisions are made every day that adversely affect workers’ status. But exiting employees like and need to be recognized for their work, time, effort, and expertise, and the employees left behind want to feel like they work for a company that cares enough to notice.

(This blog post is brought to you by HSD Metrics, an exit interview company that helps companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews, and by measuring employee retention. The comments from exiting employees that are featured in this blog are collected from actual exit interviews conducted using ExitRight®, HSD Metrics’ exit interviewing service. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today. Because we place the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; the names of all involved parties are kept completely confidential.)