Hiring is a challenge and hiring a great person for your company is a great achievement. But the hiring process is only the start of the employee journey and upon your new hire joining a company, it's prudent to remember that their commitment to the business is not a given. An effective onboarding programme is a good place to start because it significantly impacts someone's longevity & effectiveness within the company.
What isn't talked about so often is when a hire doesn't work out. It is easy for an organisation to overlook the importance of exiting someone with care and diligence. An employee leaving can happen for various reasons and it doesn't always mean that the employee or employer has acted badly, it may be that it just hasn't worked out. But it's important to understand why, to avoid this in future. Someone leaving is a challenge for both parties, but if it's handled well and managed, it doesn't need to result in people feeling negative or a poor Glassdoor review.
So how can you ensure that you put steps in place to avoid where possible and manage an unexpected departure appropriately?
1. Define probation in the employment contract and make sure an 'End of Probation' meeting is put in the calendar when the employee joins. If a company misses this date, the employee passes their probation and time goes by without knowing how the employee is performing or feeling.
2. Consider a weekly check-in during the first month and a monthly check-in throughout probation so that the result of the end of probation meeting isn't a surprise. No one should enter an end of probation meeting wondering whether they will still have a job at the end of it.
3. During the Probation meeting check that the job is meeting the expectations of the employee - not just the other way round! - and set achievable objectives that the employee is accountable for actioning.
4. Document this information in HR/People software so that it can be accessed easily and measured.
5. If an employee is to leave, arrange an exit interview between the employee and impartial person. This is an opportunity to gain insight into their experience, to then use it to enhance future experiences.
6. Consider how the candidate was hired. If it was via an agency, talk to the agency about what didn't work to avoid future similar mistakes. If it was a referral, don't forget to talk to the referrer - they will be feeling negative about this too.
8. Tell the business that someone has left. Not only is this important to ensure their work is picked up but it can create negativity when employees and customers find out indirectly.
7. Do regular analysis of your hires and your hiring process. Similar to a deal review in Sales, do a Hiring Review so that you can continue to improve your hiring processes.
Finally, remember that the person who is leaving you is human, has feelings and it's important to get the balance of professional and kind. You never know when they will pop up again and you may one day want to re-engage with them. A positive exit experience can mean the difference between a poor Glassdoor review or someone leaving and being a brand ambassador for your business, and the latter is where you want it to land.
A generation ago, leaders may have thought, "Who cares how former employees feel about you?" But today, in our interconnected age, HR leaders know better.