Published on Mar 9, 2020

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Would your business actively support your employees to find their next job opportunity? Does your organisation strive towards investing in your people?

‘Graceful exits’ have become an increasingly popular practice with many organisations being receptive to the idea of helping their people become equipped professionally to leave their workplaces onto greater opportunities.

While it appears to be counter productive to traditional employee retention programs, creating an open conversation about career goals and aspirations (even if they are to leave) can enable both managers and employees opportunity to plan ahead and generate greater productivity for the business.

Encouraging people to be more open about what they want professionally, creates trust and provides an environment where people feel comfortable being vulnerable and transparent about their career goals. This could lead to training opportunities, career advancement plans, discussion about remuneration, performance and expectations.

A study into the factors of employee retention published in the Open Journal of Social Sciences advocates that developmental opportunities can positively increase an employee’s commitment to stay in an organisation. It also reinforces that training and development is a key factor in employee retention, commitment, and loyalty.

Building a culture where leaving is expected, celebrated, and talked about could create a workplace where leaving can become a positive experience resulting in fewer ‘burned bridges’ or disengaged staff. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener, and your ‘graceful exits’ philosophy might in fact generate longer term, more loyal employees.

What you can do as an employer to implement this culture into your organisation:

  • invest in people: ongoing training and development for your staff
  • have a transition and succession plan: determine future organisational knowledge gaps, how will you replace positions?
  • create opportunities for future workforce entries: through traineeships or apprenticeships, train and promote senior staff and create an entry level opening
  • have an honest conversation about motivation: offer references up front, discuss career and promotion opportunities, financial incentives or connect them to their goal opportunity in your network

Businesses can ask: Why this person is actively looking for new job? What can the organisation offer them? Are they still motivated and engaged? and what can I do to help them achieve their goals?

Study cited: Kossivi, Xu, & Kalgora (2016) Study on Determining Factors of Employee Retention, Open Journal of Social Sciences Vol.04 No.05 (2016)