Good ways to say goodbye

Good ways to say goodbye


If you’re a leader, business owner or manager, you will be faced with losing team members through career moves or layoffs. When that time comes, you want to convey the news in a goodbye message that reflects positively on all concerned.  

Why? Because if you don’t talk, others will.
Not saying anything – or worse, saying the wrong thing – may harm your company’s reputation. On the other hand, a well-crafted message can earn you the respect of those remaining and even attract new talent.

Begin by being respectful of the departing employee. People want to believe that their leaving matters. When you announce a departure, strive to show both business acumen and humanity. To achieve that balance, consider these six questions when preparing a message:

  1. Was their position eliminated or were they terminated for performance issues? If they were held in high regard by colleagues, be generous in your comments. If they are leaving for a performance issue, the less said the better.
  2. How well known and/or well liked is the departing employee? Know that the remaining employees will be concerned about this loss to their team.
  3. Were they a top performer? If so, briefly highlight their accomplishments.
  4. Has this individual enhanced the organization’s reputation through their community involvement or work with nonprofits? Have they been a valued mentor? Be sure to acknowledge these activities and, if needed, declare your continued support.
  5. Were they a key leader? Remind employees that there is a transition plan in place to ensure that the business is positioned for long-term success.  
  6. How can others share personal thoughts and best wishes to the person departing? Keep the lines of communication open. Nobody wants to feel like they have to sneak around to say goodbye to a colleague or friend.

With any departure, your primary goal should be helping the individual leave with their integrity intact. It reflects well on you and your organization.

Remember: If you don’t proactively acknowledge departures, you leave a void that begs to be filled with speculation and rumors.

Before you act …
Establish a protocol or system for keeping up-to-date profiles on your team members. If your organization has a human resource team, they may already have processes in place to track employee contributions, honors and promotions. This data will serve as your go-to resource for crafting departure messages that show heartfelt concern.

Regardless of your relationship with the departed employee, these messages can be draining to write. That’s why many leaders use an outside ghost writer. A professional, impartial communicator can relay a message that keeps the company’s reputation intact. If you’re in a leadership role, bookmark this page. My on-demand writing service can help take the risk out of this complicated time.

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