Don’t let former employees out of sight

by 19 Mar 2009

Employers could be missing out on vital business opportunities by cutting ties with former employees as involuntary turnover continues to rise.

The current economic climate provides a good opportunity for employers to recognise the value of employee mobility and rethink relationships with exiting employees, according to Dr Ian Williamson, associate professor of Management at the MelbourneBusinessSchool.

“While the state of the economy is fuelling the increase in workforce reductions among organisations globally, employers need to think more broadly about their social capital during this time as it’s not uncommon for individuals to return, even in a contractor role, or to rehire these people when the economy stabilises,” he said.

Speaking ahead of the Australasian Talent Conference in Sydney, he said the value in past and present employees is not only calculated in terms of cost, but also in knowledge and social terms.

“By staying in contact and forming positive ties, there is an opportunity to form new business relationships, share knowledge and ideas,” he said.

“However, people are moving jobs more often throughout their careers today and managing the social component of employee relationships is critical – regardless of whether the economic situation is one of constraint or surplus.”

Relationships are formed on the notion of a positive experience, and as such, it was crucial for companies to properly manage staff exits. If managed correctly, he said the process can even enhance rapport with the departing person.

Williamson also said that alumni programs, where companies manage their interactions with former employees, are very effective.

“An initial step is to set up an alumni database or network. Having such programs in place can also cut recruitment costs as there is the possibility to rehire these workers in the future or use them for referrals,” he said.


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