As I tell people when working as an employee retention speaker or employee retention trainer, employee retention is not over when someone leaves the organization. Part of your employee retention strategies should be to stay in touch with that person even after they have left your organization. In most cases, organizations are resentful when someone leaves and then the organization wants nothing to do with them. Good riddance! That should not be your attitude at all.
People leave for a variety of reasons including thinking the “grass is greener” on the other side of the fence, promotional opportunities, the draw of a big-name company, etc. The reasons are countless. Often, many of them are misguided. I am amazed as an employee retention consultant how many organizations gleefully discuss when someone makes a mistake and makes a bad career move.
It’s time to rethink your thought process and start seeing the fact that the employee retention game is not over when someone quits. What you want to do is stay in touch with that person somehow. It could be HR following up via LinkedIn and connecting, having a buddy who is close to the person stay in touch and keep you informed or something as simple as a text to ask how the new job is going. Then, sit back listen to what is said (or is not said) and decide if it makes sense to broach the topic of potentially returning to your organization. This is not kissing the butt of someone who “screwed you” it is recognizing that people make mistakes and then you working to help fix that mistake and bring them back to your organization.
I put everything in the context of C.R.A.P.! (Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise). If you truly care about the people that work for you, you will still want the best for them even if they leave. If it happens that they made a bad move both parties can benefit from someone deciding to return to the organization.
It makes business sense for both parties to swallow their pride and to realize that one made a bad move and the other is big enough to understand that. Not only is it good business but it is also consistent with the C.R.A.P. philosophy you are trying to build. All your current employees will see this and when the former person returns, it enhances the organization in their eyes. It is a win/win for everyone. So instead of saying “good riddance,” say “welcome back.” Remember, always Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.®