Ex-employees are important brand ambassadors. Those who have had a good experience are likely to recommend the company to future employees. Equally, they are also likely to recommend the company for business opportunities. Thus, employees can be important advocates of the company brand, something that a number of employers seem to miss, when they make preparations to oust an employee or ill-treat an employee when he or she has resigned. Repossessing the computer and desk in a mad hurry, and escorting the employee out of office without even a cup of coffee is becoming a familiar story in some corporate circles.
Recently, I heard founders in two separate companies were fretting over the bad-mouthing by ex-employees, that was affecting both their business and their future recruitment prospects. Naturally, the founders were angry. After speaking to a few ex-employees, I discovered that both companies had treated their employees quite badly in the past and especially during the exit period of the employee, which as it so happens is the most sensitive period in the employee's life with a company. There is no point in keeping an employee happy during his tenure and unhappy during his exit. What he will remember most is the last experience and how he was made to feel when he left the company. His take-away memory will be his exit and how badly or well it was handled.
Word of Mouth
But the growth of the internet just made it one of the most powerful media in the world. According to Nielsen, 92 per cent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. WOMMA and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find out exactly what brands were doing about that fact. In a recent study, 64 per cent of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. However, only 6 per cent say they have mastered it.
Why ex-employees are important
Ex-employees are excellent recruiters
Your ex-employees know your culture, your business and how different roles in the organisation work. Their recommendations and referrals for prospective staff are likely to be more relevant than even headhunters. Research conducted by Glassdoor, shows referrals are also more likely to receive offers, boosting the chances of a match by up to 6.6 per cent.
2. Ex-employees could be your future clients
I have often had employees who worked for me become my clients. And that too senior management on the client's side. A good relationship with employees will help you build your business in these situations and even help you win pitches to prospective clients.
3. Brand ambassadors
If your ex-employees part positively, there is a good chance they will keep in touch with you, the organisation and ex-colleagues. They will speak well about the company when they get referrals for either business or recruitment of people.
Often when senior people or top performers leave an organisation, there is a tendency especially for owner driven companies to take that action personally or treat their resignation as a sign of disloyalty. As a result these employees are shunned during their notice period.
It is important to see the bigger picture. A disgruntled ex-employee could also be a threat to your company's reputation.
Treat your ex-employees well. They can often make or break your company reputation.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)