Look at exiting employees as potential brand ambassadors

How should managers deal with employees during their notice period? We ask experts


Photo: iStockphoto.
Photo: iStockphoto.

ENGAGEMENT PROCESS SHOULD STAY: ABHIJIT KHASNIS

Co-founder and COO, Hiree

The most important part of the manager’s job is to stay engaged with the employee who is quitting,” says Khasnis of Abhiman Technologies Pvt. Ltd-run online job recruitment portal Hiree (formerly known as myNoticePeriod.com), on how to get the best out of an employee serving a notice period.

Khasnis lists a few pointers in engagement to better utilize the quitting employee’s services during the notice period.

The engagement, he says, will help keep the quitting employee, the manager and the existing team on course with its work and will not affect performance of the organization as a whole.

A typical notice period, he says, would be around 30 days. But lack of engagement would lead to a situation where all the work would happen in the last three days. This scenario would affect the team and the company as it would mean that there is no replacement plan and no effective transfer in knowledge from the quitting employee to the manager or his team.

Khasnis says it is important to know the role and skill set of the quitting employee and engage with him or her to facilitate a smooth transfer of knowledge. But for this to happen, the manager or official protocol should announce the decision of the quitting employee early to the team.

Leaving such announcements till the last day would be harmful to the team in that time period and the future, as it would create panic and impact confidence of the employees who are staying back, he says. But an early announcement by official protocol channels would give an indication that the situation is under control, giving the quitting employee the confidence to continue with his/her work without hesitation or doubt.

Khasnis says the manager should find another role for the quitting employee, if the individual is unable to cope with the job. But an underperformer should be let go without hesitation or a notice period, he insists, and adds: “You should graciously accept the resignation and let the person go then and there.” Sharan Poovanna

EMPLOYERS NEED TO BE CONSIDERATE: KAMALANABHAN T.J.

Professor and head, department of management studies, IIT Madras

Many organizations do not show a considerate attitude towards employees when they quit their jobs. Rather than taking a purely procedural approach, the company should be a little considerate to employees. This will motivate employees to make proactive efforts to fulfil their commitments before leaving.

“Generally, during the notice period, employers tend to be resentful and try to get personal with the employees. The firm should not have the mentality to micromanage people,” says Kamalanabhan.

Stressing on the importance of knowledge sharing he says: “Employers should be diplomatic and involve the employees who are about to leave in some kind of knowledge transfer activities to the next person down the line. And the firm should also give due recognition to the person for the kind of work done during this period.”

“Companies should make sure they honour the commitment of their employees and we see that some firms even stay away from paying the benefits of the individual when they know that the person is leaving their company, which will bring in distrust among the other stakeholders of the firm,” he adds.

It is the mutual responsibility of both the employer and employee to maintain an ethical culture, the professor says, and adds: “HR (human resources) generally feels that there is no point in asking the employee to come and serve the notice period. Instead the company opts to pay the salary and ask him/her to stop coming to office. The reason is, in most cases the companies are afraid that the employee who is leaving the firm will take along with him some potential people.”

“This is predominately seen in IT companies because there is also confidentiality of data and the companies are worried about this,” he points out.

Companies such as Infosys and Accenture have a process in place to bring back former employees. “People leave the company, work elsewhere for few years for better career growth and come back to the previous organization with fresh knowledge,” says Kamalanabhan.

Organizations should consider that employees who are about to leave can bring value to the firm both at present in terms of transferring their knowledge and in the future by bringing new ideas, he says. Dharani Thangavelu

MAKE THE TRANSITION SMOOTH: SHANTHI NARESH

Head of talent and India business leader, Mercer

Most managers are sceptical about the productivity levels of employees when they are serving their notice period. The feeling is not entirely misplaced, says Naresh.

This is because employees tend to be apprehensive about their future workplace and it affects their ability to perform to their fullest after deciding to leave.

“The fear is that the productivity of an employee on notice will plummet. It largely depends on the emotional bond an employee has with the company and the employee’s level of professionalism,” she says.

The average notice period in companies is about two months. For senior roles it is mostly three months, while for roles where there is no talent scarcity, the notice period is usually about a month.

Ideally, it is best to let the employee go at the earliest if the organization can make the transition smooth and if the company has the bandwidth to take on the employee’s duty, says Naresh.

The biggest problem employers have when it comes to employees who are serving their notice period is the mindset issue, she says, and adds:) “Employers take it personally when someone leaves. They think of the time they invested in the person and how he or she still chose to leave. This leaves them disappointed.”

Instead, employers should look at exiting employees as potential brand ambassadors, says Naresh. “If employers create an environment where employees feel engaged even when they leave and are able to make a smooth transition, they will naturally become brand ambassadors of the company. Employers need to look at exiting employees with a long-term perspective,” she adds.

As for employees, Naresh warns that they should not let their future employer buy them out of their notice period. “It is very unprofessional as it does not give the company enough time to transition,” she says. Arundhati Ramanathan

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