Brand Loyalty and the Importance of Offboarding

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Tyrone Smith


The talent management process is often thought to encompass a new hire’s experience from day one until the day they retire or otherwise leave the company. Rarely does it include staying in touch with former employees or working with them through detailed offboarding processes, but perhaps the time has come to reevaluate the value of maintaining positive contact with departing employees beyond their last days at the office.

Given the rising importance of an excellent internet presence when it comes to building and maintaining a positive reputation, both within an industry and outside of it, the incentive to leave a good impression on all employees, even those leaving, is certainly present. But what does that process look like and is it truly important enough to justify the potentially steep time investment?

Why is Effective Offboarding Important?

The importance that departing employees can have upon talent acquisition is often overlooked, but it can affect the types of employees your business is able to attract moving forward.

Harvard Business Review, citing a 2019 report authored by Cornell University and PeoplePath, notes that as much as one third of corporate alumni stay in touch with previous employers. Furthermore, they state that rehires or referrals from alumni make up 15% of all new hires, indicating that preserving a relationship with past employees has a significant impact upon future talent acquisition.

It should be clear that fostering a positive impression of the organization in departing employees is beneficial to business, however the importance of an offboarding program might yet seem unclear. Consider that research indicates people are more likely to remember their last experiences and rate the whole based on them than they are to take an objective assessment of an entire experience.

Your first impression might be important, but the last impression might be the one that really counts when it comes to employee loyalty.

Brand Loyalty and Talent Wars

The war to find and retain top talent is raging globally across many industries, and some organizations are already realizing that the process might be harder than initially anticipated. Because many employees have their pick of jobs, they are often in the rather unique position of evaluating bids from multiple corporations when they are searching for new positions.

Consider the current business landscape as a “buyer’s market” when it comes to talent – and they’re the ones conducting inspections and judging curb appeal.

Building a community of people who enjoyed working for your company, particularly when that community is prominent online, is an effective way to make sure your organization looks good to prying eyes. It is not enough to have a “neutral” or “fine” reputation. If your business does not have “brand advocates” willing to vouch for you and extolling the benefits of working for the company, you will be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to landing reputable talent.

Offboarding programs, including those that actively keep in touch with alumni and build dedicated communities for them, are a good investment for the overall health of a business. It makes sense from a business standpoint to create a process that reminds employees why they enjoyed their jobs and to keep that appreciation fresh even years after their departure. This helps build the kind of reputation that excels in global talent wars as well as the professional network needed to find talent before they look elsewhere.

Talent Acquisition: HR’s Guide For Finding the Best Talent

Talent Acquisition (TA) is more than just a strategy. It’s about creating a framework that helps an organization hire smarter. In the guide below, the HR Exchange Network explores the topic of TA in more detail. It takes a look at the current state of affairs, strategies, and what talent acquisition leaders should expect in the coming years. 

Photo Courtesy of Stock Photo Secrets