If you work in a corporate world, it’s safe to assume you are busy. Most likely, even though studies show productivity goes way down, you’re multitasking a variety of tasks/activities/projects and really, there’s never enough time to get it all done. If you’re a manager, then your workload is even more frantic. Information travels at the speed of e-mail, so everything is changing all the time. Information you received 24 hours ago might as well have been from the Jurassic period. You can sit down at your desk in the morning, sip your coffee, and blink—it’s two in the afternoon and you haven’t had lunch yet.
So when someone leaves your team, it’s easy to blink and they’re gone. One minute, you get that obligatory email when they announce they’re leaving and POOF, two weeks have passed and they’re desk is empty. Are they on vacation? Out sick? I haven’t seen them for several days…oh, that’s right, they left the company.
Making sure you are LinkedIn with them is fine, but that’s just saying, “Hey, we might have to scratch each others backs one day, so keep in touch…you know..because of potential work.”
But if you really want to do the right thing. Make sure that person has a going away party. Now, this doesn’t have to be some uncomfortable mess with cake and ice cream during work hours, but maybe a cocktail at a nearby bar toward the end of the day says loads.
It doesn’t matter whether this team member has been on your team for a year, or for a decade, it’s important to send them off properly. I’m amazed at how many managers over looks their duty on this one. The future benefits should be obvious aside from the fact that it’s THE DECENT THING DO TO:
It’s good for public relations: Collecting the troops and saying goodbye in unison lets the ex-exmployee know they meant something to the department. Ending any relationship on a positive note softens all the past negative experiences, especially at the next job. What if every employee leaving your company had excessive negative stories to tell around future water coolers? Think that won’t come back to bite you? Ever wonder why your company can’t find enough top-notch candidates? Word of mouth, especially on the internets, can have a devastating effect on a companies street cred. A few free drinks and telling someone they will be missed goes a long way in building future relationships with their friends—who may be ideal candidates for job reqs you haven’t opened yet.
It’s good for the morale of remaining employees. They need to see their managers reacting positively to change. It’s a good time for the team to be nostalgic and laugh at all the absurd things they’ve had to go through to get product delivered. That camaraderie between staff is priceless. You can’t put a monetary figure on these kinds of real-world experiences. Let the remaining team know they are important and that when the time comes for them to leave, they’ll get the same kind of send off.
It’s good for you to get closure. You’re losing the next best thing to a family member. Whether you screwed up and ignored the warning signs, or just knew it was the right time for this employee to move on, you should have a finality to it just as much as anyone else. You may not have raised this person since they were a child, but you hopefully did your best to nurture them through their professional career and being proud of their accomplishments means you’ve been an effective boss. You made a difference in their lives—and when they go, it might feel like they are snubbing you, even though a good manager knows that’s not true, you can still feel that way, especially if you’ve spent a great deal of time helping that ex-employee level up or whatever it took to get them to succeed. Be enthusiastic of their new job, find out what they will be doing. Give them contacts at that company if you have any to give. And who knows, those employees may come back one day and be eager to work with you again because they know what they had when they walked away from it.
And if someone’s manager isn’t creating the invite, then do it yourself. The person leaving shouldn’t have to do it, and for god’s sakes, don’t let the person that’s leaving pay for anything!