How to Conduct a Successful Offboarding Process?
A well-implemented offboarding process ensures fairness, respect, and reduces misunderstandings upon an employee's departure.
May 24, 2023
9 minutes read
Offboarding procedures should aim at making a clean but graceful cut from one employee to the next, easing the transition for both company and leaving employee.
A successful offboarding process relies on a carefully designed methodology. Although there are general outlines and offboarding procedures every HR strategy should adopt, it should be adapted to company culture and specific needs.
What is an offboarding process?
Offboarding process is the procedure companies’ set-up for when an employee leaves. The offboarding process includes a string of procedures that disengage the employee from their company and position.
Offboarding procedures can be activated in several situations, such as leaving by choice, lay-offs, or even retirement. The ultimate goal of the practices is to guarantee employees are treated with fairness and respect, even at the end of their relationship with the company.
An effective offboarding process helps reduce the chance of misunderstandings arising upon the employee’s departure from the company. Furthermore, a well implemented offboarding process can help build and maintain a favorable employer brand.
Why are offboarding processes important?
The offboarding process should be part of most HR strategies, as it brings multiple benefits for both the departing employee and the company. Such benefits include:
By ensuring the proper handoff of data, as well as the smooth transition and cancellation of the previous employee’s accesses, companies can guarantee data safety.
Collection of Equipment
By collecting company equipment, such as phone and computer, the risk of data being wrongly or mistakenly handled is minimized.
Respect and Fairness
Treating employees with respect and fairness minimizes the risk of legal threats. As such, employees are less likely to feel their former employers have implied promises or have breached their good faith.
A successful offboarding procedure should have a feedback portion, as to inform Human Resources or other company departments on what is going well or on what they could improve.
Fostering a good employer brand is important, and former employees have the potential to be great brand ambassadors. Leaving things on a good note promotes a good company image, which is a great asset for new hires.
How to improve an offboarding process?
Before implementing or improving an offboarding strategy, it is important to delineate what your company needs from this procedure. Although an exit interview poses as an integral part of offboarding, the goal of this procedure is not to criticize the soon to be former employee, as neither is it to try and retain talent. Offboarding procedures should aim at making a clean but graceful cut from one employee to the next, easing the transition for both company and leaving employee. How do you achieve this?
Create Offboarding Checklist
The first step to improve or set-up an offboarding plan integrated in your company’s HR strategy is to create an offboarding checklist. This checklist should make it easier for HR representatives to conduct this period of an employee’s time in the company with respect and strictness. This list may vary from company to company, but here are some general topics you might want to contemplate: obtaining a resignation letter, processing expense reimbursement, schedule exit meeting, etc.
Determine Exit Reason
Offboarding processes should be fluid and easily adapted to the person who is leaving, as no two cases are the same. Offboarding a retiring employee might be drastically different from offboarding an employee who has been laid-off, or who has chosen to leave.
Communicating the departure of an employee may be uncomfortable, but it is a central part of building trust within the office. This sort of communication should be done quickly after the agreement between company and departing employee, as to avid gossip and miscommunication. Honesty is the best policy and being public about a departure is a show of confidence and trust for the remaining employees.
Having a well-oiled offboarding process might mean facilitating communication between the departing employee and their replacement. The former employee can share their responsibilities and day-to-day activities, immersing their replacement in their new role and in workplace culture.
Leaving a company entails a great amount of paperwork, depending on exit reason, type of contract, seniority, and even position. As an employer, you should be ready to guide your employees through the process, providing help and guidance.
Collect Company Property
Collecting equipment such as computers, and phones is standard procedures in any company. But in some cases, it might be helpful if upon a departure an HR representative sits with the employee and goes through documents and digital accesses, as to ensure that nothing is lost in the transition.
Conduct Exit Interview
Exit interviews should be focus points of an HR strategy. This step is helpful for the company in more than on way. On one hand, it is a perfect opportunity to collect feedback on what went well or badly during a person’s time on the company. On the other hand, it is a farewell interview that should be delt with great respect, leaving the employee with esteem for the company.
Onboarding and offboarding
When a new employee arrives at a company, they undertake an onboarding process, covering job description, benefits, company structure and culture, company vision, mission values, which hopefully makes an impact on the new employee and leaves them excited to start a new chapter.
When an employee leaves a company, a similar process happens, where a formal separation between company and departing employee happens, leaving processes closed, ready for their substitute to take over.
Onboarding and offboarding are the book ends of an HR strategy. First and last impressions matter when you are trying to develop a good employer brand. Therefore, onboarding and offboarding processes should mirror each other and rely on one other for an effective strategy.
The onboarding approach should take the same attitude as the offboarding approach, keeping an organized and systematic list, treating people with respect and kindness, and keeping current employees in the know might mitigate risks of gossip and lack of trust in the employer.
Furthermore, departing employees can be great ambassadors for a company, and, as such, might be a good asset for the onboarding of new employees, namely the ones who are taking over their job, as to guarantee a smooth transition.
Offboarding Process: The offboarding process involves procedures that disengage employees from their company and position when they leave. It should be adapted to company culture and specific needs.
Importance of Offboarding: A well-implemented offboarding process ensures fairness, respect, and reduces misunderstandings upon an employee’s departure. It also helps maintain information security, collects company equipment, and allows for feedback and reflection.
Benefits of Offboarding: Offboarding processes contribute to information security by ensuring data handoff and access cancellation. They also promote respect and fairness, minimize legal threats, and gather feedback for improvement. Moreover, offboarding supports employer branding by leaving a positive impression on departing employees who can become brand ambassadors.
Improving the Offboarding Process: Start by creating an offboarding checklist to guide HR representatives. Tailor the offboarding process based on the employee’s reason for leaving. Communicate the departure promptly and openly to build trust. Facilitate knowledge transfer between departing and incoming employees. Prepare necessary documents and collect company property. Conduct exit interviews respectfully to gather feedback and leave a positive impression.
Onboarding and Offboarding: Onboarding and offboarding are both crucial aspects of an HR strategy. They mirror each other and contribute to building a positive employer brand. Consistency, organization, respect, and knowledge transfer should be prioritized in both processes.