In Communication, Feedback, Leadership, Wednesday Wisdom

I’ve been hearing a lot of bad job-departure stories recently and this has me thinking about how organizations handle employee off-boarding.

There’s a lot of emphasis on hiring employees. HR departments spend time updating the job description, doing the actual recruiting and screening, interviewing viable candidates, and on-boarding new employees to ensure they get the best start possible.

But from what I’ve experienced myself and what I’m hearing from friends, we’re not dedicating near enough time and resources to employee departures. Maybe there’s an exit interview, but even then, I don’t know of any organization that actually uses information gleaned from exit interviews to improve the employee experience.  

Since I can’t share my friends’ job-departure stories, I’ll share a few of my own, in no particular order!

I decided to leave one job after a series of changes, some of them at work (mostly structural), and some of them at home (I had a new baby to care for). When I gave my notice, the team was extremely understanding, and as was typical at this organization, a celebration was planned at a local watering hole to say goodbye and wish me well.

Another job-departure took place after a fairly long tenure and the reaction I received when I gave notice was mixed.  Some colleagues understood that the organization needed to make changes in the HR division where I worked and they respected my decision to leave. However, many others in the organization equated tenure with loyalty and so they were confused by my decision to leave after so many years with the organization.

I was prepared for this reaction because a few months before my announcement I heard a senior leader state: “Why would I celebrate someone leaving my organization?” The culture at this organization did not support those who chose to leave, and that’s a pity.

Another time, after giving notice and telling a handful of close colleagues about my decision to leave, I found out that many other colleagues didn’t even know of my departure until after I was gone. Ugh! Once again, because of my previous interactions with leadership, I wasn’t surprised, but it was still a disappointing and hurtful experience.

Do these examples reflect on the overall culture of each organization? Absolutely. And that’s exactly why leaders need to rethink how employees exit the organization. They owe it to their employees as well as to the reputation of their organizations.  

I’d love to hear your thoughts on job-departures. Do you have examples you’d like to share?







Start typing and press Enter to search