Jun 22, 2021

May 27, 2021

The Voluntary Employee Exit Process: The often ignored part of building a relationship

It is a scene that plays out every day in many organizations across the world. An employee walks into his or her supervisor’s office (or emails him or her in the age of remote working) and lets them know that they are tendering their resignation after serving the notice period specified in the offer letter when they joined. 

How the supervisor responds then shapes the employee experience to a large extent.

And, how the supervisor responds is dependent on the relationship they shared and the conversations they have had until this point. 

It is often said when employees join they join organizations, but when they leave they leave managers. While that may not always be true, it cannot be denied that the immediate manager or supervisor plays an outsized role.

The importance of having an exit process that is empathetic and treats every employee as a human being is critical. When a person is heard and acknowledged on their way out they can act as ambassadors and share their positive stories with prospective candidates who reach out to them. When a person is treated with disrespect or when the supervisor or Human Resource representative lets the process take precedence over human factors it can lead to an irreparable damage to the relationship between parties

According to research by Everett Spain and Boris Groysberg, many companies don’t even conduct exit interviews. Some collect exit interview data but don’t analyze it. Some analyze it but don’t share it with the senior line leaders who can act on it. Only a few collect, analyze, and share the data and follow up with action. They suggest having interviews conducted by second- or third-line managers. Make exit interviews mandatory for at least some employees. And because standard interviews enable you to spot trends, but unstructured ones elicit unexpected insights, consider combining the two approaches in semistructured interviews.

A strategic Exit Interview program provides insight into what employees are thinking, reveals problems in the organization, and sheds light on the competitive landscape.

How should a manager behave when an employee resigns?


  1. The first thing a manager should not try to do is make it about himself or herself. Resist the urge of saying “How could you do this to me?” Doing so makes the employees defensive and probably close up.

  2. The manager should not, on the other hand suppress, their own emotions. Acknowledging it is important. Especially for first time manager it can lead to self-doubt. Talking to a coach (if available) or a senior professional could be a way to deal with it.  

  3. Do not blame the employee for being ungrateful

  4. Do not treat the employee as a traitor  out to share trade secrets with competitors., cutting them out of team meetings during the remainder of their notice period


  1. Listen to the employee without judgement. Take their word at face value. In an example a startup entrepreneur shared with me, when he told his employer that he was leaving to pursue an idea to build a business, his manager did not believe him. They suspected that it was just an excuse and he was off to join some competitor. The entrepreneur shared that though his employment was okay enough, this lack of trust soured the relationship with his former employer

  2. The manager should realise that every resignation is an opportunity - an opportunity to relook at root causes where it broke down and to truthfully share that with the organization so that such mistakes are minimised and reduced in the future. Often these will trigger a need for self-reflection and requires a degree of self awareness for a manager to reflect on his or her own behaviour that might have led to a breakdown in the relationship. This would give data for possible development needs for the manager. 

  3. Listen to the employee’s needs during the notice period. Do they want to serve out the full notice period or adjust the remainder of their leaves against some portion of the notice period. Organizations in India specifically have long notice periods of two to three months, which in my opinion is not needed for a majority of roles in most organizations. However if the employee has a rare skill that is not readily available in the market then retaining such an employee should have been the first priority. If their new employer wants them to join early and is willing to buy out the notice period, then trying to not let that happen and forcing the employee to work is counterintuitive - and yet we come across so many cases of employers trying to do the same thing. It makes the exit process difficult and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of both parties

  4. Managers and employers should look at it as the continuance of an existing relationship and not as the end of one. If organizations look at themselves as ‘learning academies’ where people come to learn and perform - they will look at their ex-employees as alumni and brand ambassadors. This shift of thinking should be driven by the very top of the organization. Treating alumni well can lead to tangible gains like business  (something that management consulting firms like McKinsey are famed for) as well as acting as referrers of great talent (hereby saving recruitment related costs) that the company needs. People tend to trust the opinion of ex-employees more than others as they are seen as more credible than other sources.

The bottom line is that managing the exits of employees is as important, if not more , as the entry of people into an organization.

One way organizations can do this is creating a cross functional team that looks at simplifying processes to make exits across the organization, and empowering managers to take decisions that are beneficial in the long term interests of the departing employee as well as the organization. It needs to comprise CXOs like the COO, the CTO, the CFO and the CHRO.

This team should also hold development sessions for managers on the dos and don'ts on dealing with their people when they submit their resignations. In fact, it should be a part of every new manager orientation and development. For that the leadership itself has to come up  with a philosophy on how they view departing employees and that then can percolate within the organization. 

Post courtesy Randstad Risesmart

May 22, 2021

Gautam Ghosh's Employer Branding Consulting Profile

Gautam is an Independent HR Consultant, specialising in Employer Branding, helping organizations tell their stories by leveraging digital media

XLRI Jamshedpur honoured him with the Distinguished Alumnus – Young Achiever award in 2014

A video where he is interviewed on Employer Branding in the new normal can be seen here

He was the Director – Talent Branding at Flipkart.  He managed the social media outreach to specific talent segments. He doubled the followers on LinkedIn from 75,000 to 150,000 organically, and created the @WorkatFlipkart twitter  account. The YouTube video “Get a job with Flipkart” (partnering with MTV and LinkedIn) got 460,000 views, maximum applications. He worked on Employer Value Proposition of the eKart business unit. Standardised the job descriptions across channels and businesses. Designed and produced a leadership document for prospective senior hires to go through. Partnered with the HR systems team to implement the Recruitment Marketing module of SAP Success Factors and revamp the career site. Worked with the marketing and internal communications to drive messages to key talent segments internally and externally. Read his blog post on Employer Branding with Flipkart examples. 

Prior to that he was the GM Strategy & Projects at Philips India where he was responsible for leading Philips India’s employer branding initiative leveraging digital media and social platforms. Mentored the CEO, HR Head and Head of Strategy on understanding digital platforms. Trained the IT function and HR function on effectively leveraging social platforms. Grew organic Facebook fans from 2000 to 10,000 in a year. Led and managed campus focused campaigns as well as events to showcase employer brand and  thought leadership and events for Philips. A blogpost co-authored with my colleagues posted on the CHRO, Yashwant Mahadik’s website on how to leverage social media in HR and Employer Branding. Gautam’s blog post on Philips India’s journey in building the capability  

He has delivered workshops on social media and business at leading B Schools like IIM Calcutta, XLRI Jamshedpur as well as for industry bodies like National HRD Network, SHRM India, Social Media Day, NIPM amongst others.

SHRM India listed him as the number 1 HR influencer on social media in 2015

HuffingtonPost rated him 7th in the list of Top Most Social HR Experts on Twitter in the world.

Forbes has featured him as a Social Media Thought Leader.

SAP has listed him in the 51 Human Potential Influencers.

Other recognitions include Top 100 Influencers in HR, Top 25 Digital Influencers in HR, and the top 50 Influential and dynamic HR by Economic Times HR World

Also posted at this site

Feb 18, 2021

Cognizant's $30 million corpus to give counter offers to people who resign

 So this news about Cognizant came out yesterday:

In an unusual move and in a bid to tackle its high attrition rate, Cognizant has set up a $30-million corpus, dubbed as a retention fund, to hold back top performers and digitally-skilled employees. The corpus is used when such employees receive offers from competitors. Cognizant, sources said, matches the competitor’s offer.

In my opinion, counter-offers don't work in the long term. If it takes a resignation from an employee for an employer to raise their salary to what a competitor is offering, then the employee-employer trust is broken to be replaced by a mercenary mindset

It will also lead to others in the company thinking that if a resignation is the only way they can get their employer to notice them, then employee engagement goes for a toss.

What is intriguing is the way that Cognizant is publicising this corpus. It's almost like they are encouraging their skilled talent to be mercenary minded. That almost never ends well. We have to wait and watch how it turns out for Cognizant in the long run.

Feb 2, 2021

My LinkedIn Live conversation with Harsh Johari on #EmployerBranding in the new normal

 Today I had an interesting conversation with my friend Harsh Johari who is a Executive and Change Leadership Coach on the value of Employer Branding in the new normal.

You can see the full 42 minute long conversation here

Jan 30, 2021

Recap of the panel on Digital HR at the Economic Times HR World Conference

 As I had stated earlier, I moderated a session on Digital HR yesterday. 

It went off quite well, and here's a recap of the discussion:

Priyanka Anand, VP and Head of HR, South East Asia, Oceania & India, Ericsson, said, “When the pandemic happened, 85,000 employees overnight started working from home in Ericsson across 180 countries. It was an overnight decision to prioritise employee safety over anything else.”

Vishpala Reddy, Head - HR, Indian Subcontinent, Philips, described the use of technological tools as non-negotiable in the present times, as the push to go digital for curriculum happened in 2020. On being asked how these tools would be useful, she said, “As an HR practitioner, the three buckets would be Business Continuity, Learning and Engagement.”

Talking about the data collected through surveys and employee engagement programmes, the experts acknowledged that ‘data is the king’. Adding to this, Anand said, “Analytics is the eye of the fish and that's how we run the HR function.”

Rajiv Kumar, VP and Country Leader - India, SumTotal Systems, talked about the uncertainties when the pandemic hit and how the HR played an important role in enabling the smooth functioning of organisations.

Jan 28, 2021

Moderating a panel on #DigitalHR at the #ETHRNexTech virtual conference by @ETHRWorld

 I am be looking forward to moderating a panel discussion on #DigitalHR at the #ETHRNexTech virtual conference by

The panel discussion would be on  Digital HR: An inside look at how next gen technologies are changing the workplace and people practices

My fellow panelists are:
Priyanka Anand, VP & Head HR, South East Asia, Oceana & India, Ericsson
Vishpala Reddy, Head HR, Indian SubContinent, Philips Rajiv Kumar, VP & Country Leader-India, SumTotal Systems

Looking forward to interacting with you all there 😀

2021 started off with being featured on a couple of lists

I was recently featured by The Economic Times' ETHRWorld in their list of 50 Influential & Dynamic HR Leaders Who Have Made a Difference. These include many people I have been fortunate to have known over the course of time, and you should definitely follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn if you aren't already

I was also featured in PeopleHum's power list of the top 200 thought leaders to follow in 2021. Honored to be featured in the list that include thought leaders like Josh Bersin, Marshall Goldsmith, Dave Ulrich, Jason Averbook as well as people I know both from real-life as well virtually 

Meanwhile, on Instagram, Big Recruitment Training featured me as part of their "Indian HR Success Stories" feature

The final slide made me smile :) 

Nov 17, 2020

How to go from EVP to an Employer Brand


Many HR departments spend a considerable amount of time, effort and resources to define their EVP (Employee Value Proposition) but are either unsure of what to do with it or they are unable to really  communicate that effectively.

Here's a step by step guide to leverage your EVP and convert it into an effective Employer Brand. Of course, this is an incredibly generic approach, and would need to be customised depending on your company's current reality and business objectives. Reach me on Linkedin if you want to know how I can help

Step 1: Analysis

Identify Target Talent Segments in each category you want to attract, based on:

i.             Demographics

ii.             Education

iii.            Role/Position

iv.           Current Employer

    Identify where the above talent segments can be reached and the appropriate message and media to use to build an awareness of your company, its culture, the various building blocks of the EVP. Leveraging candidate personas can be an incredibly powerful tool in building them.

 Step 2: Crafting the messages

Work along with your Marketing/Corporate Communication teams/external agency to identify employee stories that exemplify the various parts of the EVP. Work with design agencies (or internal design team if you have one) to make images, infographics and videos of the identified stories. 

Undertake a dipstick test to evaluate the efficacy of the content and messaging.

Step 3: Delivering the message

1. Draw up a content calendar and wotk with internal communication teams/external partners on which content wil be posted when. Leave room for flexibility for impromptu moments

2. Draw up an Employee Advocacy plan to spread the stories across various networks by leveraging your existing employees' reach. 

Draw up a social media advertising campaign to reach identified target groups, experiment, look at what's working and 

 Step 4: Tracking Metrics

Some of the metrics that could be tracked are:

1.            Increase in LinkedIn and Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers. These are, to repeat, just indicative. They might differ depending on the target talent segments.

2.              Engagement of each post on each network (views, comments, likes)

3.             Increase in number of hits to your career website

4.            Growth in application numbers

Points to remember

This is a very simplified guide and would need to be customised to the needs of your company. Each of the above sub-steps are also quite detailed and would need to be planned and executed depending on the maturity of your organization. and if you would want me to consult with you reach out to me on Linkedin



Oct 13, 2020

The main reasons employees are using the Mindhouse Mental Health

 Mindhouse is an app which is co-founded by Pankaj Chaddah and Pooja Khanna. Pankaj is also a co-founder of Zomato, one of India's biggest internet consumer stories. Pooja was one of Zomato's earliest employees.

Their new venture Mindhouse is positioned as a "workout for the mind" focusing on meditation and yoga.

When Pankaj reached out to me to help Mindhouse reach out to HR decision makers I asked him how many were using it, and for what purpose

His answer surprised me!

Of the 15,000 employees across 500 employers this is what they focused on most for using the app

Which is interesting because as work from home becomes normal, focus might suffer. So if you'd want your company to leverage the Mindhouse app for employee's mental wellbeing reach out to me at gautam dot ghosh at gmail and I'll connect you to the team at Mindhouse

Current corporate users are