When Departing Employees Become Valued Assets

Alan Li November 15, 2013 3 mins read

When chatting with HR professionals, you will frequently hear them talk about how difficult it is to retain talented workers.

How to prevent core employees from leaving is a popular topic of discussion in HR circles. Very rare, however, is talk of managing employees who have already left the company. In fact, over half of HR professionals believe that in the full-cycle management of corporate services for employees, companies place too much focus on the recruiting process and not enough on departing employees. Who would believe that employees who have left the company are also valuable? By treating the departing worker in a considerate way, the company can remind the employee why they signed on in the first place, and leave an excellent impression. In this way, departing workers can also become valued assets.

A few clever companies have already discovered this treasure-trove and make an effort to maintain close contact with all employees who are leaving the company. The well-known consulting firm McKinsey is a classic example: They have always been willing to spend large amounts of capital to maintain and cultivate their multi-industry ‘alumni network’ (McKinsey refers to the workers who have left the company as ‘graduates’). Managers at Mckinsey are keenly aware that departing employees are also valuable. As the facts show, the company has reaped significant rewards in this respect. Not only are former employees future consumers of the company’s products and services, in many aspects they can also provide active support. For example, they may recommend suitable candidates for employment, return to the company themselves, or help promote the company’s products. Compared with hiring a new worker, the costs of rehiring a worker who has left the company are only about half—and the rehired employee can join a team and dive into work immediately.

This is not only applicable at consulting companies, it is also a useful concept for other industries. According to an investigation, the world’s 500 largest companies actively try to rehire departed employees. From this, each company saves an average of over ten million USD a year. In high-tech or investment companies, close contact with former employees can help companies utilize the vast networks surrounding these workers, giving companies a better understanding of market trends and helping them better formulate policies and decisions.

In today’s commercial environment, competition for talented workers is constantly getting fiercer. The manpower and capital that companies are willing to invest in managing and cultivating human resources is also increasingly substantial. Though most company managers are more inclined to focus on and offer incentives to current and potential employees, farsighted enterprises will never neglect the value of former employees—they will treasure them as valuable assets.

Alan Li's picture
Operations Director | Financial Services, Industrial & Life Science Recruitment