Ex-employees are Important Brand Ambassadors

Ex-employees are important brand ambassadors. Employees who have a good experience are likely to recommend the company to future employees. Equally they are also likely to recommend the company for business opportunities. So employees can be important advocates of the company brand, something that a number of employers seem to be missing, when they make preparations to oust an employee or treat an employee badly when he or she has resigned. Repossessing the computer and desk in a mad hurry, and escorting the employee out of office without even a cup of coffee is becoming a familiar story in some corporate circles. After all stories abound, of how people’s computers and desks are being re-possessed in a hurry and how they are being marched out of the office without even the cursory cup of coffee or a goodbye.

Recently I heard of how the founders in two separate companies were fretting over the bad-mouthing by ex-employees, that was affecting both their business and their future recruitment prospects. Naturally the founders were angry. But after speaking to a few ex-employees I discovered that both companies had treated their employees quite badly in the past and especially during the exit period of the employee, which as it so happens is the most sensitive period in the employee’s life with a company. There is no point in keeping an employee happy during his tenure and unhappy during his exit. What he will remember most is the last experience and how he was made to feel when he left the company. His take-away memory will be his exit and how badly or well it was handled.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth always has been the most powerful social media platform ever in the history of the world. Even before the internet was born and we formally christened it as social media. Word of mouth has always been thought to be an important part of the marketing mix but it has been neglected very often as a communication tool.

But the growth of the internet just made it one of the most powerful media in the world. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. WOMMA and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find out exactly what brands were doing about that fact. According to Forbes in a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. However, only 6% say they have mastered it.

Why ex-employees are important

Ex-employees are excellent recruiters

Your ex-employees know your culture, your business and how different roles in the organisation work. Research conducted by Glassdoor shows referrals are also more likely to receive offers, boosting the chances of a match by up to 6.6%.

2. Ex-employees could be your future clients

I have often had employees who worked for me become my clients. And that too senior management on the client’s side. A good relationship with employees will help you build your business in these situations and even help you win pitches to prospective clients.

3. Brand ambassadors

If your ex-employees part positively, there is a good chance they will keep in touch with you and the organisation and ex-colleagues. Often ex-employees are good brand ambassadors. They will speak well about the company when they get referrals for either business or recruiting of people.

Often when senior people or top performers leave an organisation, there is a tendency especially for owner driven companies to take that action personally or treat their resignation as a sign of disloyalty. As a result these employees are shunned during their notice period.

It is important to see the bigger picture. A gruntled ex-employee could also be a threat to your company’s reputation.

Treat your ex-employees well. They can often make or break your company reputation.

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Prabhakar Mundkur has spent 40 years in advertising and worked in India, Africa and Asia. He is currently Chief Mentor with HGS Interactive a part of HGS in the Hinduja Group. He is on the advisory board of Sol 's Arc (solsarc.org ) an NGO dedicated to special education for intellectually challenged children. He is also a member of Whiteboard ( whiteboardindia.org ) which supports senior management of NGOs in financial management, PR, Communication and HR through pro bono expertise.

2 Comments

  1. Exit interviews, or the lack of it, often tell you more about the culture of the organisation than the state of their toilets.

    Sadly, many companies have no idea how to go about an exit interview. It’s the best feedback you could get about what in your company’s culture that is working well and where one needs to improve.

    Here’s a quick structure for an exit interview that your readers might find useful.

    1. What did you like most about your stint with us?

    2. Where do you think we can improve?

    3. How can we help you in your new assignment/chosen future path?

    By the way, I have also found the first two questions useful in recruiting people just before they join your organisation. Ask them the same questions about the organisation they are in or are about to leave!

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