Schedule Time for Goodbye and Feedback

Business Woman Saying GoodbyeWith the increase in outsourcing, specialization and globalization, it seems we say “goodbye” to team members more often. Whatever the reason for departure, you want them to leave with a great impression of you and your organization. To ensure these important moments are not overlooked,  schedule a meeting to say goodbye and offer feedback, especially praise.

Making Time

I just had a meeting request appear that reads something like the following:

Subject: Please take a moment to thank ‘Jane’ for her contributions
Detail: This week is Jane’s last week on our account. Please take a moment to thank her for the hard work, dedication and innovation she brought to our team.

It is too easy to forget these critical communications. I am ashamed to admit, I often find myself following up, after someone’s left. The message usually reads something like, “Sorry we did not get that lunch in before you left! I hope the transition went well and….” Then I thank them for all they did. However, that is not a good impression. After all, these individuals may think, “if my departure was not important enough for him to remember or make the time, how much could he really miss me?”

By scheduling the time, you avoid this trap. Booking a meeting ensures your calendar is clear and you are reminded to send the message before they depart.

Get the Team Involved

While setting up that meeting, invite the team. Include anyone who worked with the person or benefited from their contributions. The point is not even that you must have a physical gathering (though that would be ideal). Instead, you book time on calendars to remind and enable people to construct and send the message. Frankly, this is how I first got the idea – when my friend and colleague, John Waymel, invited me to say thank you and adieu to one of our outstanding team members.

Include a Few Pointers

Depending upon your audience, you may want to include some pointers. For example, the meeting invite could capture highlights of the person’s contributions. In addition, you may want to remind folks how long they’d been with the organization, or where they are headed next. These points help make the notes more personal.

Leave a Great Impression

Whatever the case, remember to leave a positive impression. As your mother always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” The point is, be genuine. Use technology and planning to ensure you and the team provide the sincere, heartfelt gratitude departing team members deserve.

Question: What other tips do you have for providing an appropriate Goodbye and feedback message to departing team members?


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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