I believe all organizations would be well-served to treat departing staff members -- even if they are not retiring -- with sort of an emeritus standing. One of the signs of a healthy culture is how the organization treats people who have left. If you wave goodbye and don't talk to your ex-staff again, you are losing a golden opportunity for them to continue in an ambassador role for you. If they were great employees, with a little effort you can turn them into great ex-employees. They know you well and presumably were a cheerleader for your brand when they were here; why let it stop?
With the holiday season approaching, think about reaching out to your former employees with a greeting or invitation to a social event. Invite them back to have lunch with former colleagues every now and then. Send them a newsletter or copy of existing publication to share your good news. Develop an email distribution list of former employees so that you can keep them abreast of major developments. Keep them on your fund-raising solicitation list! Send along one of those promotional products every now and then (see #168). Use them as a resource on occasion. Help them connect with other former staff.
There are many things you can do after you say goodbye to a staff member. Just make sure that something is on the list!
-- beth triplett