My friend Aaron recently left his organization. Prior to being an employee he was a customer for over 10 years. During his employment he was entitled to a free online newsletter subscription (which he previously paid for as a customer). As soon as he walked out the door the CEO told the Marketing Manager to put a stop to Aaron’s subscription.

Now, this ‘subscription’ was just a glorified newsletter (I use the term ‘news’ loosely) filled with company self promotion, it reality it had no real value.

Aaron couldn’t believe it, “I was a customer for years and the CEO made a big deal of canceling a crummy newsletter. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep it coming and have me engaged in the company even after I’ve gone? There’s no way I’m going to become a customer of that place again!”

Consider this, how many employees leave their company and are positive advocates for their former employer?  Hmmm, I don’t see many hands raised.

Universities and colleges are great at creating long term relationships. By developing alumni programs for former students they maintain relationships, build their network and (hopefully) create positive word-of-mouth.

Why don’t organizations do the same? It’s hardly a lot of effort and there are benefits for both sides.

Why not create a ‘Good-bye, Good luck and Stay In Touch’ package for each departing employee? Let them leave feeling good about the company. I know I would have loved to have received the following when I left a company:

  • Provide product / service discounts to previous employees and turn them into long-term customers
  • Continue to send them newsletters (maybe even do a version aimed specifically at ex-employees) that keep them connected to the business and encourage them to pass it on
  • Give them a free subscription to a company publication or online service, it costs basically nothing, but the perceived value is huge
  • Use social networking to stay in touch, set up a Facebook group for an organization, or encourage LinkedIn networks to keep everyone in touch. Group members could opt-out whenever they like

The list is as long as the imagination and wouldn’t it be refreshing for an employee to sing a company’s praises instead of saying, “I’m so thankful to have left that place, it was a nightmare in a cubicle!”