Why You Really Need to Treat Your Ex-Employees Well

Much has been written about the power of employee engagement and methods to keep your employees happy and engaged.

This is a great thing for small business. Those employers that have embraced employee engagement have surely seen the benefit in more productive employees, longer tenure, and less costs associated with turnover.

But what about those employees that have left your company (whether voluntary or not)? Not nearly as much has been written about these ex-employees, but business owners cannot ignore this group.

In fact, here are five (5) reasons why business owners should treat ex-employees as well as active employees:

1. Rehire candidates

Employee turnover is a reality that every business owner faces. Recruiters are working harder than ever because the “war for talent” is real.

But the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Your ex-employee might soon realize they made a mistake, and you might not have filled the position (or filled it well). Make sure you let your departing employees know that it’s OK to come back and you would welcome them — if they were a good employee, of course.

Don’t take it personal and bad mouth your employee for leaving because they might come back. A rehire can be a huge help for a business, able to hit the ground running and save the company valuable training time and money.

2. Social media

There are a growing number of websites that allow current and ex-employees to write reviews about their current or ex-employer. Who do you think is more likely to write something negative about your company, an ex-employee that was shown courtesy and support on their way out, or the one that was treated poorly?

Above and beyond these websites, plenty of people post about ex-employers on their personal Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Would you rather them leave angry or feeling like they were treated well on the way out?

3. References

People talk, especially when they are considering going to work for a new company.

With websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, it’s easy to see if anyone in your network has worked for a particular company. These ex-employees will be your potential employees own personal references, sharing either their good, bad or ugly experiences.

4. Unemployment taxes

The costs of turnover are high. One of those costs that is often overlooked is the cost of unemployment taxes.

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The longer an ex-employee stays on unemployment, the higher your unemployment rate will be. This is an opportunity for you to directly impact your bottom line with an ex-employee.

Don’t just wish them well, help them find their next position. You’ll save your business money and create good will with an ex-employee for all the reasons listed above.

5. Lawsuits

Employment lawsuits seem to increase each year, and can be a disaster for a small business.

I think it’s safe to assume that a disgruntled ex-employee is much more likely to file a lawsuit than an employee who left on good terms.

Don’t invite disaster into your business. Take the high road and be nice to even the worst employee on their way out the door.

While keeping active employees happy and engaged is critical to a business, don’t forget about treating your ex-employees right as well. It could make a bigger impact on your business than you think.

This was originally published on the Genesis HR Solutions blog.

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