Friends 4-Ever

Say goodbye, but not good riddance. You may still have a use for those ex-employees.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the November 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

Used to be that when quit, they were considered traitors and told to clean out their desks on the spot. No more. Today, the split is usually amicable; going-away lunches and gifts are common. And it doesn't always end there. When a valued employee leaves your company, there are several reasons to keep in touch.

Former employees who stay in contact with their old bosses will tell others what a good employer you are and what a great place your company is to work at. That kind of person-to-person can bring you more and help you recruit new employees. The potential for former employees to return later with more skills and experience is another benefit of alumni programs.

Alumni programs aren't just for big businesses. "It's all about creating a mechanism to stay in touch," says Cindy Lewiton Jackson, director of career development and alumni relations at Bain & Co., a -based global strategic consulting firm. "You can do that by inviting them to your holiday party or summer picnic." She also suggests a newsletter with company updates and short "What are they doing now?" alumni profiles.

Of course, you're only going to have a successful alumni program if your former employees want to stay connected. Realize the person you hire today will likely be a former employee down the road--and start building a lasting relationship the day he or she walks through your front door.

Showing employees you appreciate their work goes a long way toward building a continuing relationship--long after they walk out that door. "It all depends on the you foster," says Lewiton Jackson. So when your valued employees get their last paychecks, make sure to celebrate their contributions and accomplishments. And get their new addresses and phone numbers.

Ellen Paris is a , DC, writer and former magazine staff writer.

Need Help?

There are some surprising finds in the welfare line.

The SBA's Welfare to Work Initiative is now in its third year, but many entrepreneurs still don't know how to get involved or whether it will really help their businesses. To help give entrepreneurs a better idea, the SBA has put together a free tool kit, available in print and online.

"We thought a simple tool kit that would give small- owners the practical tools needed to hire a person coming off welfare would help [get them involved in the initiative]," explains Zina Pierre, director of the Welfare to Work Initiative. "The tool kit basically lays out for employers the incentives and advantages of hiring people coming off welfare."

Incentives include federal tax deductions and state-paid wage subsidies. According to a survey by The Welfare to Work Partnership, a national nonprofit organization that supports the SBA's initiative, 71 percent of the small businesses involved in the program said welfare-to-work are their best workers--eager-to-learn, punctual and hard-working. That could be the best incentive of all. To get a tool kit, call (800) 8-ASK-SBA or visit

Next Step

  • To order a Resource Directory of welfare-to-work contact information, call the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center for Workforce Preparation at (202) 463-5525.

Contact Source

Bain & Co., 2 Copley Pl., , MA 02116,


More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Amplify your business knowledge and reach your full entrepreneurial potential with Entrepreneur Insider’s exclusive benefits. For just $5 per month, get access to premium content, webinars, an ad-free experience, and more! Plus, enjoy a FREE 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription.
Entrepreneur Store scours the web for the newest software, gadgets & web services. Explore our giveaways, bundles, "Pay What You Want" deals & more.

Latest on Entrepreneur