How to Say Goodbye to a Team Member?
Saying goodbye to a team member who is leaving your company is not an easy task. It is hard not to get emotions involved, but you need to accept that people are coming and leaving you and your firm. It happens from time to time, and it is part of the job.
There is a lot of reasons why employees are leaving — some of them might get better job offers, others want to do something different in their lives, and sometimes you just need to let people go. Anyway, whatever the reason, it is always a good practice to say goodbye to that person and have a proper closure.
We have already shared a few handy tricks that can be helpful when welcoming a new team member, and now we will give a few pieces of advice that can help you when you are saying goodbye to someone. We will not talk about firing process this time — if you feel that you need to give someone a notice think about it and if it has to be done, just do it. So, this is not a story about the unpleasant conversation that you have to do, this is a story about a period that comes after dismissing a team member.
1. Let the team know what is happening
When a person is leaving the team, there will always be some gossips around. People will wonder what is going on and why. To avoid unpleasant situations and misleading stories, the best thing you can do is to let the team know what exactly is happening. You can do it in a team meeting, or in writing, on your internal company blog, a place where your team is already reading news and updates on company life.
Be careful, you don’t want to pass the message immediately. Give yourself a few moments to get together and to rationalize the situation before you make the announcement. Keeping your team in the loop will show them that you trust them and that you want them to be involved with the company life on a daily basis. It also shows to a person who is leaving that you respect her decision (or that you have rational reasons for firing her).
2. Create “goodbye” procedures
Procedures may seem useless and annoying, but procedures are a very useful tool to handle situations and occasions such as escort of a team member.
Why you need a procedure in this case? Well, your team members probably have access to different accounts, services, and tools that you’re using. They also probably handle a particular type of work that no one else is involved with. The procedure that you need will:
- remind you to ask them to leave written instructions about tasks that they performed,
- instruct them to distribute all their duties to some other people,
- in case you find a replacement already, this person would have to train a new team member for the position,
- and finally, you will recall removing all their accounts when they leave.
3. Write a farewell message
When the last day at work comes, it would be nice to have a proper farewell. So, take a few moments of your time and write a message to that person. You can publish it in your team BlogIn, or it can be private, for this individual only. Leave all the bad things aside (if there were any) and write what you appreciate about him/her, say “Thanks for collaboration” and express your wishes for future networking and cooperation. Say if you sincerely regret as that person is leaving the company. And that’s all you have to do. It will mean a lot to her!
4. Organize a goodbye party
It is always a good time to throw an office party, so why not making one to say goodbye to a team member. Invite everyone, prepare some good food, drinks, and music and have some excellent time together! In this way, everyone will have a chance to have a talk and kiss goodbye with a colleague who is leaving. It will also make a leaving team member appreciated.
Making a farewell party will create a positive atmosphere and reduce the stress of losing a team member.
5. Give a nice present for a memory
People love gifts, especially the ones that are personalized and created just for them. To make it easier for a leaving colleague get him/her a nice present from the entire team. If possible choose something that will recall some good memories from your past. It is always a good idea to make a photo of the whole team and to place it into a beautiful frame. Or it can be a picture from a team building trip with all of you together. It’s a nice gesture, and it will make you all feel a bit better.
6. Make a farewell speech
Okay, it doesn’t really have to be a speech, but it’d be good to say a few words. You already have a party, and you’re about to hand over a gift, so you might as well say something. At least you can say “Good luck on the new job!” or “We’ll be missing you!” or something like that. Be honest and have a proper goodbye.
As you probably know, saying goodbye to a team member is a really hard thing to do. No matter the reason. But, we can’t expect that someone would work with us forever, can we?
Goodbyes are already stressful, so use these few tips to make it easier for you, your team and to a person who is leaving.