The Impact of the Offboarding Process on Employee Experience

alumni program

Traditionally there are 7 stages of the employee lifecycle, but there is an 8th one after the offboarding process and it’s just as important as all the others on longevity, brand, and talent.


Gallup recently published a study on Designing the Employee Experience to Improve Workplace Culture and Drive Performance, and examined the many components of a successful employee experience strategy.  

The piece outlined seven stages of the employee lifecycle – from recruiting through offboarding – and identified the core needs at each stage, along with key questions to consider as you evaluate your current state:

1. Attract: Recruit Top Talent 

  • What elements of our culture are we highlighting to attract top talent?

2. Hire: Pick the Stars

  • Does our hiring process feel fair?  
  • Does our process pick stars?

3. Onboard: Affirm the Decision

  • Do we affirm the decision employees made to join us? 
  • Do new hires experience our values during the employee onboarding process?

4. Engage: Build Strengths and Purpose

  • Do our employees show up every day enthusiastic and involved in their work?  
  • Do we build on strengths and purpose?

5. Perform: Drive Expectations

  • Does each employee performance review seem fair and accurate?  
  • Are we driving expectations to higher levels?

6. Develop: Coach Career Growth

  • Do our top performers see a future with us?  
  • Do we offer flexible, personalized career paths?  
  • Do we continually coach career growth?

7. Depart: Deliver a Positive Offboarding Experience

  • Who are our talent competitors?  
  • Why does our best talent leave?  
  • Does our exit program create a positive experience? 

PeoplePath has long emphasized the importance of the employee offboarding experience, which the Gallup study validates with its focus on the departing stage of the employee lifecycle. 

“What happens during this stage matters a lot: Employees who have a positive exit experience are 2.9 times more likely to recommend their organization to others than are those who have neutral or negative experiences. Ideally, turnover is a positive experience for both the person who departs and for your organization -- the employee leaves on good terms and talks positively about your organization.” 

The study goes on to describe three important factors that employees say make for a positive offboarding experience: 

  • They feel heard.  
  • They feel proud of their contributions.  
  • They leave as brand ambassadors.  

But exactly how valuable are former-employees-turned-brand-ambassadors if they don’t stay connected with your company? 

That’s why we believe the study left out the critical eighth stage: Alumni.  

8. Alumni: Stay Connected and Offer Support

  • Are we connecting with our former employees through a Corporate Alumni Program? 
  • Have we offered opportunities for education, to return to the company, or to help their business? 
  • Do we create positive experiences through content and events to build mutually beneficial lifelong relationships? 
  • What elements of our culture are we highlighting to attract top talent?

The employee lifecycle doesn’t end when an individual resigns. A corporate alumni network provides a home for a thriving community of brand ambassadors who can uncover new opportunities and help build business relationships well into the future. Your former employees are out there promoting (or detracting) their time at your company. Working to connect the dots and provide a better experience for the full lifecycle is mutually beneficial.  

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Improving the offboarding process for exiting employees that seamlessly moves them into being an alumni will show them appreciation, and encourage them to participate in the community going forward. Below we showcase what’s involved in optimizing the offboarding to onboarding process.

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