Organizational Culture – Treating Departing Employees Badly is Bad Business

Employers often request a 2 week notice when employees decide to resign.

This request is usually made to give the employer time to identify a suitable replacement to cover the work that needs to be done and/or provide adequate training. In other words, to protect the assets of the business. Why then would an organization’s leaders treat an employee badly once they’ve complied with that request?

You may have witnessed it or been subjected to it yourself – managers who ignore the departing employee or become downright hostile toward them. Or worse yet, they may summarily dismiss the employee refusing to allow them to actually work out the notice. (We generally refer to this as “cutting off your nose to spite your face.) Yet, if the employee didn’t give a proper notice, they would be rejected for possible rehire.

The questions you might ask are: 1. under these circumstances what employee would want to be rehired? And 2) Is your shortsightedness costing you on the P&L?

The short answer to these questions? Organizational Culture.

Organizational culture is born out of your organization’s DNA – it defines who you are as a company; and encompasses the shared values, beliefs, symbols, and behaviors of your organization – in other words, it’s how things get done. An organization’s culture guides both individual and team decisions and actions at an unconscious level. And these actions can have a dramatic effect on your company’s well-being and success or lack thereof.

In this case, a poor culture that supports actions to treat employees badly can not only affect current employees, it can also negatively affect outside candidates considering opportunities with your company. After all who would want to work somewhere that doesn’t appreciate their employees or worse yet, abuses them?

And while it used to be easy to treat employees as commodities, in today’s global talent war, many organizations are finding it advisable to not only rehire boomerangs, but to actually encourage employees to seek outside opportunities and then return because returning employees can bring valuable knowledge, skills and abilities back to the organization, not to mention the fact that they can verbalize to others that the grass is not always greener.

A recent study by Towers Watson found that companies that scored high in employee engagement had profit margins that were about three times higher than those of low-scoring employers; and high employee engagement is an outcome of a healthy organizational culture.

What kind of culture do you have?

Does it help or hinder your organization’s performance? Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on products, services and processes they believe will give them a competitive advantage – few spend time or money on their one true competitive advantage – their culture.

What’s your story?

Have you been treated badly after turning in a notice? We’d love to hear about your experience.

– Cindy

Visit us at: www.HRSolutionsbydesign.com

4 Responses to “ Organizational Culture – Treating Departing Employees Badly is Bad Business ”

  1. May 8, 2014

    I agree completely. The process that my former bank employer put us through was absolutely terrible. We would get emails telling us there wasn’t room for us in various bank functions. They wouldn’t talk to us. We were treated like pariahs. A three month process turned into a very demeaning experience. When you look at it from a business (and not a personal) standpoint, I have always agreed that eliminating these positions was the right thing to do. But I could never agree with the way it was done. Everything begins at the top, including a culture of the way departing employees are treated.

  2. May 8, 2014

    Cindy – this was a very interesting point – many organizations are finding it advisable to not only rehire boomerangs, but to actually encourage employees to seek outside opportunities and then return because returning employees can bring valuable knowledge, skills and abilities back to the organization, not to mention the fact that they can verbalize to others that the grass is not always greener.

  3. May 8, 2014

    Covey (the late Covey’s son) defines culture as the way people within an organization speak and act most of the time. The only solution to the quandrey you describe is for those in leadership of the organization to begin viewing the employees not only as people, people as valuable team members and team members as all but indispensable. If the golden rule were consistently applied in any organization, those in leadership would place a high priority in helping every employee achieve his/her goals, even if those goals extended beyond what that organization has to offer. It’s the difference in leading by expediency or leading by principle.

  4. Thanks for all your great comments. You truly get it – Now we need to get this competitive advantage message out to the rest of the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.