Employee offboarding is not always good for organizations, although it’s unavoidable. Workers in an organization typically want to grow and advance; this process may include leaving the organization.
Organizations should therefore devise strategies to effectively manage employee transitions. Furthermore, employees who move on to part ways on good terms with the company must leave a lasting impression on them and even subsequent employees.
It also shows the company’s image and leaves the door open to boomerang employees.
Though this process can be cumbersome, treating it with the utmost priority is essential, just like the onboarding process.
In this article, you’ll understand employee offboarding, its benefits, and a helpful employee offboarding checklist.
What Is Offboarding?
Offboarding, or as some call it, employee offboarding, is a process whereby employees disengage from their position within a company.
This disengagement might be by way of being laid off or voluntary resignation. It involves employees parting ways with their colleagues and the organization they work for.
Offboarding manages the employee experience at the end of their time with the organization.
It covers all the steps necessary to successfully part ways with an employee following his resignation or termination.
The purpose of an offboarding process is to help organizations become wiser in hiring and keep the departure’s impact on the business to a minimum.
It also helps to build the last impressions employees will have of the company and the image they will portray to the world outside.
Finally, an offboarding process done well ensures a smooth transition for both the firm and the departing employee.
The process to follow is usually determined by the size of the company, the employee’s position, and the nature of the departure.
Here is the common offboarding checklist:
1. Communicate the departure
While it can be tempting to hold off on communicating about an employee’s departure until you have detailed information, it is wiser to share it quickly.
This prevents rumors or gossip from disrupting your workplace due to the people filling in the details themselves.
To avoid this, employers should notify the team and department members, HR, and in case the employee was client-facing, create a plan to inform the clients about the employee’s departure.
If appropriate, let everyone know the reasons for the employee’s departure and who will take over his responsibilities.
For senior managers, it may also be necessary to make public announcements to be transparent.
2. Prepare the paperwork
The offboarding process should address proper documentation. Conduct a final review of the employee’s contract to ensure all items are in order.
It’s advisable to review any non-disclosure agreement with the employee before he leaves to clarify any lingering questions.
A letter of resignation or termination and benefits documents such as a retirement plan, unemployment insurance, compensation package, and tax documents are also essential.
This is to protect both employees and employers in the event of legal issues.
3. Ensure a knowledge transfer
To ensure a smooth transition and no interruption in services or production, you’ll need to plan a proper knowledge transfer process.
When employees leave, they take their skills and institutional knowledge with them. If such knowledge is not organized correctly, it could be lost forever.
As soon as an employee gives his notice, it’s important to start the knowledge transfer process immediately.
Ask the employee to transfer his knowledge and train up his successor. When a successor is not ready, create a handover document or video with valuable tips for whoever is taking the role.
Although, you must stay on good terms with your employees as they would only be willing to transfer such knowledge when they are at peace with the organization.
4. Recover company assets
It’s essential to recover a company’s assets when an employee is ready to leave.
This includes physical assets such as ID badges, laptops, mobile phones, uniforms, parking permits, keys, company credit cards, and so on, as well as access rights to the software and network services.
Research has shown that most organizations often forget about recovering their assets.
Some cannot even tell whether or not the departed employee still has access to their network services.
Furthermore, it is also essential that the employees clear their desks or lockers of any personal items they may have brought to the office.
This is to prevent the miss of company properties with personal properties.
5. Revoke systems access
It is potentially hazardous to revoke all of an existing employee’s access to a company’s system.
This access includes email and internal platforms, CRM systems, the company’s social media account, content database, and access to the sales dashboard.
Furthermore, shared accounts, shared passwords, single-user internal systems, and so on will need to update their passwords.
This is to prevent breaches set up by bitter employees and security breaches that cost a lot to rectify.
6. Complete the final pay process
It is important to take employees off the payroll system immediately after exit. Payroll systems have this functionality built-in, but payroll must ensure the final payment process is carried out by payroll.
One will communicate payroll details like the employee’s end date, notice period, and any extra information they’ll need to compensate the employee legally.
7. Perform an exit interview
Exit interviews, when done properly, can provide one with a wealth of information.
It is an invaluable tool for discovering the strength and weaknesses of the organization and how to improve on the weaknesses.
The feedback given by the employees should be taken seriously. One must be sensitive to the employee’s needs and perspective.
While interviewing the exiting employee, it’s key to keep the questions short and to the point.
Also, encourage honesty and use the data to prevent future high performers from leaving the organization. It’s advisable that someone neutral conduct the interview.
8. Provide letters of reference and exiting documentation
Exiting employees may request a letter of reference or a certificate of service as evidence of their employment.
This provision of such a document depends on the circumstances in which the employee exits the organization.
Organizations are legally obliged to provide final pay information, certificate of service, and contract when requested. Hence, they should prepare for it.
9. Appreciate the employee
Employees should feel appreciated for their contribution, especially when leaving on good terms. This will make them more likely to look at the organization favorably.
It will also convince people that the employee is leaving on a good note without any ill feelings.
The company can organize a goodbye party and personalized gift to show goodwill as the employee moves forward.
10. Leave the door open for a return
Former employees are more likely to return to the organization later in their careers, bringing added experience, knowledge, and connections.
Therefore, steps should be taken to leave the door open for their return.
One way to do this is to establish an alumni network of former employees through LinkedIn or a management site.
They can also help direct potential candidates in their network toward the organization’s advertised position.
11. Tie all loose ends
The offboarding process can be tiring and cumbersome. But do not forget that you are managing a relationship with another person at the end of the day.
Make an excellent lasting impression on the employees by treating them with respect regardless of the nature in which they exit.
Once the employee leaves, the last thing to do is tie up any loose ends involving IT and HR.
The company’s organizational chart must be updated, the company’s insurance provider must be informed correctly, and the worker’s status must be changed in the HRIS.
The exiting employee should also be removed from subsequent meetings, and you should also inform relevant workers of any last-minute details in the transition.
12. Stay in touch
As unprofessional as this sounds, you should stay in touch with previous employees.
Think of it as staying in touch with an old coworker. From time to time, you ask each other how you are faring and what you’re up to. You may even meet up for coffee.
It comes with a lot of benefits. It can be helpful in cases where you’ve lost some knowledge only the employee had or if the successor needs help with a specific task.
Also, in cases where the employee needs a reference letter or letter of recommendation.
Importance of offboarding
A good offboarding process provides the company with the following importance:
1. Mitigate security risks
A proper offboarding process is crucial for security reasons, especially data security.
In cases where the employee did not exit voluntarily, such an employee might act out of spite or desperation and try to hurt the organization.
They can delete important organization files or publicize the company’s client database. But a proper offboarding process mitigates such risks.
2. Leaves a positive lasting impression
Offboarding is impersonal and careless and can tarnish the organization’s image and attract public scorn on social media and company review websites.
A positive offboarding process will leave a positive lasting impression, benefiting the organization’s employer brand.
It also creates a space for employees to feel comfortable returning to their roles in the future. These are known as boomerang employees.
Returning employees have many benefits, including additional skills, experience, and professional maturity.
They’re familiar with the organization’s culture and require less training, enabling your team to reach maximum productivity in record time.
3. It helps the organization remain compliant
The proper offboarding process acts as a compliance and risk management tool.
Exit interviews, for example, are a preventative measure to help employers uncover any unfavorable issues during employment.
It may include but is not limited to workplace discrimination or bullying, which can be mitigated before they lead to legal action or bad publicity.
Other offboarding steps that protect an organization from falling victim to compliance-related problems are recovering company assets and revoking systems access.
4. Exiting employees are more likely to remain a customer
Just like current employees are customers, exiting employees also have the potential to remain a company’s customers.
Therefore, proper offboarding is key to ensuring your former employees stay loyal.
Think of it for a second. What better advertisement for your brand than a former employee who remains a customer even after leaving the company?
They are proof of how you treat your customers, good or bad.
5. Gather valuable insights
Departing employees are likely to be more forthcoming when talking about their time at the company and provide genuine feedback.
This is positive, as both good and bad feedback can help an organization identify its strengths, weaknesses, and where there is room for improvement.
Any insights a company can get from its employees are valuable.
Who is responsible for offboarding?
It’s up to HR to assign an offboarding process as required.
Are exit interviews confidential?
Every interview done during the offboarding process is confidential.
What is the difference between offboarding and onboarding?
The onboarding process involves recruiting new members into the organization, while offboarding is the process that involves employees parting ways with an organization.
It can be deduced from all that has been written that the offboarding process is as important as the onboarding process.
When properly done, it adds much value to the organization and even to the employees themselves.
However, it has been discovered that most organizations do not take the offboarding process as seriously as they should, which could cause many problems for the organization in the future.
For the offboarding process to be effective, every part of the process should be duly followed, and none should be left out. Only then would the organization enjoy the full benefit of this process.
Lastly, reading the article on areas of development for managers would help advance your career.
I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.