Maintaining Good Relationships With Departing Employees

Dec 6, 2011

It’s easy to have hard feelings with an employee quits, but letting your hurt feelings permanently damage your relationship with that employee can harm your business, according to Dave Balter, founder and chief executive officer of the social marketing company BzzAgent, who tackled the topic in a recent Inc. article.

“A ‘bad break up’ with an employee is a huge mistake,” Balter wrote. “The one who leaves and the one who is left both must understand that the emotions at the time of departure-the frustration about mistakes that were made, the disagreements over strategy, and the heated debates-won’t mean much in a short time. Bad memories will fade. What remains is a bond from shared experiences.”

Balter shared three other reasons why it’s important for business owners to maintain good relationships with departing employees:

We are infinitely connected in a social world. “Former employees are easy for client and employee prospects to find to check your reputation,” he wrote. “They can drive business and talent to (and away from) your company.”

Former employees provide invaluable perspective. “They have critical knowledge about your business-and you-that practically guarantees they’ll always be beneficial,” Balter wrote. “With the knowledge of your organization’s vision in hand, they can provide an incredible external perspective that is sometimes lost within the confines of an inward-facing company.”

Monogamy in corporate America is dead. “We now live in an era where we’re no longer committed to a single [business] entity for years,” Balter wrote. “Rather, it’s common-and even expected-that people will change jobs and switch careers.”

“Now, more than ever, departing employees should be treated with care and respect,” Balter wrote. “When they leave, bosses should thank them for their time and their contributions. In fact, a company’s relationship with alums should be fostered, beginning at the moment that you decide to stop working together. It doesn’t matter who makes that decision. If handled appropriately, relationships with former employees can be a source of immense, incredible benefits for both parties.”

To read the complete Inc. article, click here.