Goodbye-Hello: Staying Connected to Ex-Employees

You have spent time building and maintaining a great team for your business and everything is running smoothly – or at least as smoothly as a business can run.  And then, a curveball: one of your top employees tenders her resignation.  It could be because she’s moving, received a better offer, hated the commute, or is changing career paths…but you have her for 2 weeks (maybe a couple more) and she’s out the door.

Okay, yes, you’re a little annoyed.  Maybe even angry.  You might have trained her, given her increased responsibility, and valued her as an employee … and now what?  Well, now you need to assess her responsibilities, think about hiring a replacement or reassigning her asks among the rest of the team, and employ strategies to minimize the stress of the transition.  But this also means it’s time to put away the matches, and keep the bridge between you and your now ex-employee intact.

"Some men just want to watch the world burn."
“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

There are cases of a resignation or termination where there is some serious bad blood, and maybe it would be easier on everyone to let that bridge burn, but most of the time there is no reason to be resentful or angry at an employee’s choice to move on.  You might have lost an employee, but you’ve gained a professional connection that, if you foster, could be a great resource down the line.  Whether they’ll provide an introduction, some new ideas, or even come back as an employee someday, it’s worth spending a little time to stay connected.

We all have our personal preferences on how to maintain our personal and professional networks, but here are a few suggestions to get started:

Get their contact information.  And do it before they leave instead of trying to track them down later. Whether it’s the email at the new job or their personal one, make sure you have a way to get in touch if you need to or want to.

Connect on social media, specifically LinkedIn.  This is a great platform to stay updated on your contact’s professional changes and keep up with their interests.

Send valuable information when you run across it.  You know, like that article that follows up on an old conversation you had with them.   If you think of someone while reading or discussing something, let them know.  People appreciate it and it’s a good way to add value in the moment without expecting anything in return.

Invite them to social events.  Having a happy hour? Invite old employees to come catch up.  Or maybe you’re hosting a non-profit event or simply want to recommend a show you think they’d enjoy – go for it!  Most people can’t begrudge you for making them feel included.

Let ex-employees know about what’s happening at the company.  I don’t mean keeping them on the in-house email list, but major changes are worth sharing.  Another way to do this is encouraging your contacts to follow your company on social media where they might see updates more frequently.

Do you keep in touch with ex-employees?  What strategies have you found most useful in maintaining your professional network?


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