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Compensation Cafe: Have You Thought About Former Employees Recently?

By Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Social recognition can help ensure that “alumni” employees turn prior positive experiences into benefits for their former companies.

Today’s employees will rarely spend their entire careers at a single organization. Instead, they will have multiple employers and potentially even multiple careers. One of the chief benefits of this trend is the expansion of professional networks that “alumni” of a company possess as they move throughout their careers.

The benefits of these networks are not restricted to the individual employee; organizations can benefit in a number of ways as well. Responding to some recent research along these lines in a post on Compensation Cafe, I make the argument that:

Compensation professionals can have extraordinary impact [on transitioning employees] through well designed total reward portfolios that drive positive financial and emotional experiences. The most powerful drivers, like moments of recognition, will be able to touch upon both simultaneously.

What are those financial and emotional experiences, exactly?

Financial, influenced by existing compensation levels, as well as additional inducements to retain the employee. To the extent that both are perceived as fair, transparent and authentic, employees are likely to perceive the relationships more positively.
Emotional, influenced by the interpersonal treatment leading up to the transition and whether the value and contributions of the employee have been acknowledged and communicated back. These messages, from bosses and colleagues, have a strong effect on the goodwill of former employees.

Through these positive experiences, former employees can serve a number of important roles for their past employers. They can serve as ambassadors, future customers, strategic partners, or even become “boomerang” employees. To achieve these benefits, recognition can be a powerful driving force:

Each moment of recognition communicates a financial investment in the form of an award, as well as an emotional investment in the accompanying message of the employee’s importance and value within the company. Moreover, these moments can be sourced from anywhere in the organization, amplifying the potential for a positive experience.

Click here to read the post in its entirety.

Does your company work to ensure that former employees leave with positive experiences?