Why Your Company Should Maintain Relationships with Former Employees

TSP • @myTSPnet


Employees leave companies for a variety of reasons, beyond just job dissatisfaction. Whether an employee decides to move on for health reasons, family needs or a better opportunity comes along, sometimes employee departure is inevitable. Nonetheless, good employees are worth keeping in touch with. You can use former employee relationships for a variety of purposes, from creating referral programs to boosting your company’s employer brand through positive reviews. Whatever your strategy, employers across the board can agree that past employees are an important part of a successful HR and recruiting strategy.

To create lasting relationships, your company must maintain a positive work environment and ensure employees leave on good terms. You should always offer to be a reference for departing employees and remind them that they can always return. According to a survey by Workplace Trends, 76% of HR professionals say they’re more likely to rehire employees now than in the past. Below are some reasons why you should maintain good relationships with former employees.

Millennials are a massive talent pool, accounting for 35% of the workforce. However, they also don’t like to stay in one position for long, as 75% of millennials believe frequently switching jobs is beneficial for their career. But, millennials’ flighty tendencies can be a competitive recruiting strategy for your company, because boomerang employees can save your company time and money.

Who says a talented millennial employee has to leave your company and not return? When a position opens up, your former employee can be a valuable prospect. Given that the previous employee is familiar with your industry, company culture and overall operations, you’ll have to invest minimal time and money in training them. It can take up to one year for a new employee to reach full productivity. Think about the money and resources you could save simply by hiring a former employee.

Former employees can be an excellent resource for HR. If you stay in touch with past employees, even just on LinkedIn or social media, you can use them as a resource for finding potential candidates for job openings. Since the former employee knows your company’s environment, they’ll be able to recommend relevant candidates. They can also give recommended candidates an honest, but positive, opinion of your company, which encourages candidates to apply.

When companies and employees part ways on a positive note, the former employee will remain brand loyal. Alumni relations begins the day employment ends, so pay attention to the exit process and how well it reflects your brand promise. If your company has invested heavily in employees at the beginning and during their employment, why squander those investments at the end? No matter the reason an employee leaves a position, it’s critical to keep the process positive and professional.

Wherever your previous employees’ career path takes them, they will be carrying your company name and experience on their resume, discussing it in job interviews and in conversations among friends. If previous employees are brand loyal, they can even act as brand ambassadors for your company long after their employment ends.

Many former employees may go to work for competitors, which can be a huge advantage if you can rehire them and utilize their competitive knowledge. If an employee was wooed by a company because the employee saw an opportunity to advance his or her career, then the employee likely gained valuable experience at the competitor. You can expect to see many benefits for your company, from new skill sets, more leadership experience or even insight into how other companies handle situations.

Former employees often stay in contact with current employees to stay in the loop. Former employees can easily share their knowledge though advice or as a review to your company or prospective employees. Keeping in touch with former employees for feedback can help you improve company culture. Similarly, you can reach out to former employees to write reviews on popular recruiting sites like Glassdoor, helping boost your company's brand with honest and positive feedback.

There are many benefits to maintaining relationships with former employees. Companies that utilize exit interviews and encourage feedback from their employees can also learn valuable insights into why good employees leave your company. This can prevent turnover, or help employers learn how to bring talented people back when the time is right.