You’ve probably stumbled across a whole host of articles aimed at hiring and onboarding, but much less attention is given to how to structure an employee offboarding process.
Let’s be honest, a practical and mutually beneficial final farewell isn’t usually a top priority for early-stage small businesses. But for managers with vision, offboarding can be an equally important part of the employee lifecycle as the onboarding equivalent.
In essence, offboarding best practices result in a smooth transition for both the departing employee and the continuing organization. When you strike this balance right, you’ve got a valuable tool for maintaining a positive company culture, keeping sensitive information secure, and attracting top talent going forward.
In this checklist, we’re going to fast-forward the learning curve of effective offboarding strategies so you can shift turnover fr om a disruption into a competitive advantage. We’ll first tell you how a structured offboarding process can help your business before giving you a go-to list that is immediately applicable to your company.
Put simply, offboarding is the formal separation between an employee and the company they were working at. It’s not a simple system, involving a lot of steps and admin, all while respecting employee rights during the offboarding process.
There are myriad purposes behind offboarding. Primarily, it is to facilitate a smooth transition for both the employee and the organization.
But within this all-encompassing target, offboarding touches on reputation management and company branding, which can easily be impacted by bitter ex-employees. Perhaps more seriously, it is a process that protects you from complex legal repercussions that can result in hefty fines.
On a more operational level, the way you bid farewell to people has a direct impact on those still on your team. A messy end will invariably spread feelings of resentment and a lack of motivation among those who were close to the departing employee.
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With that background in mind, it’s time to move on to the step-by-step of offboarding. We’d highly recommend you follow all of the points on the checklist to achieve your end goal — a mutually beneficial departure.
The structured approach below is essential in eliminating waste in an employee offboarding process. You take out all the guesswork and focus only on the time and resources necessary to get the job done. This allows you to channel the vast majority of your efforts into steadying the ship and moving your business forward.
Once you receive a resignation or make the decision to let somebody go, the first step is to document and notify all departments and team members who will be affected. Failure to communicate the decision to key stakeholders such as managers and close colleagues can lead to feelings of distrust, suspicion, and alienation.
Therefore, even if the circumstances are acrimonious, it is vital to remain professional, respect the departing employee, and be sensitive when informing others. A smooth notification of departure will set the tone for the subsequent steps.
Conducting an exit interview provides valuable insights into why the employee is leaving and how they feel about it. This information goes deeper than feedback from current employees, who may be reluctant to speak freely through fear of repercussions.
With so many steps to fit into an often short notice period, we’d recommend scheduling the exit interview in your joint calendars as soon as possible. Once it comes to the day, you need to have a structured agenda to go through, leaving no stone unturned while encouraging honest dialogue.
Streamlining employee offboarding increases the speed of the process and prevents mistakes from being made. Completing these in a timely manner is crucial to upholding employee rights during the offboarding process. When all your records are in order, you can supply the necessary information immediately and save yourself from the entirely avoidable consequences of noncompliance.
Therefore, we’d encourage you to create a step-by-step administrative task workflow template covering elements such as the final paycheck, contracts, NDAs, legal requirements, and any outstanding benefits. To avoid unwanted surprises, check all these legal boxes systematically. Whenever an employee decides to leave, you can open the workflow at the click of a button and have all the tasks ready to go with documents attached and deadlines set.
Fundamental to security in employee exit management is removing access to email accounts, intranet, and databases. With cyberattacks so prevalent in the business world, allowing ex-colleagues to continue accessing your files is a rookie error. Therefore, you should structure the transition so you pay attention to important tasks to secure your data and intellectual property.
Keeping your systems simple is key to maximizing efficiency in an employee offboarding process. Using a range of different apps means you have a lot more accounts to stay on top of. But when you have all your tools on one platform, you can quickly, efficiently, and securely remove an individual’s access.
Once you’ve secured access points, it’s time to get the hardware back. Laptops, mobile devices, entry cards, and ID badges should all be secured, so make sure you have an accurate inventory of who has what and keep a record of when they are returned. With sensitive information easily accessible, keeping tabs on all your property is a key part of your security strategy.
Accounting for all of your devices goes beyond mere security implications. Losing track of property can be a costly affair, so clear records are a great way of eliminating waste in an employee offboarding process.
Part of the offboarding process in HR is to upd ate your internal records so all of your teams are in the loop. While each company will have different formats, common databases include contact lists, organizational charts, and employee status.
The main benefit of updating your records is to keep your business compliant and efficient, avoiding any unanswered requests and drops in productivity. But on a more operational level, remaining employees can use a searchable directory to find who to speak to regarding the departing employee’s previous responsibilities.
On the subject of productivity, your employee offboarding process should involve reassigning tasks, responsibilities, and to-do lists to other people. You may have to run training sessions and briefings for a smooth transition and don’t forget to redirect communications by forwarding emails and sending an automatic reply to stakeholders informing them of the change in their point of contact.
When valued employees leave, it always has a disruptive effect on those still in the company. Therefore, you should be careful not to overburden one or two remaining employees by sending them all the tasks and responsibilities left by a departed member.
On an internal level, you need to keep your teams fully informed to maintain morale and promote transparency. A company-wide announcement on your company intranet works well to ensure that all of your employees are kept in the know.
However, you’ll also need to address potential concerns and changes in roles and responsibilities. Going into this extra detail helps to reassure your team about the stability of the company and clarifies the ways of working going forward. Clear communication at this stage is the hallmark of a positive company culture that champions transparency and respect.
Your organization doesn’t exist in a vacuum and disgruntled ex-employees can do a lot of damage to your company branding. Therefore, one of the most important offboarding best practices is to end your relationship on good terms. Even if the circumstances around the departure are acrimonious, staying professional, offering help in career transition, and acknowledging their contributions can make the best of a bad situation.
These supportive gestures not only help the individual and keep the door open for a return in the future, but they reinforce a positive company culture. This is excellent for keeping the mood high among your remaining employees and fostering team loyalty.
When an employee has committed themselves to a job and made connections with their coworkers, they rarely want to leave without a send-off. Whether it’s vouchers for a spa day, a gift from the team, an after-work get-together, or a combination of all three, your final farewell is an opportunity to thank your employee for their work and keep a positive vibe in the office.
A well-executed farewell doubles down on your company’s commitment to people, which keeps the outgoing party happy while also reassuring your team.
Switching from your sentimental to your practical mindse t, the penultimate step is to analyze feedback and data from the exit interview so you can improve in the future. Analysis is crucial for both employee onboarding and offboarding processes as it helps you spot trends and insights to identify wh ere mistakes were made.
Take this data and look at ways you can apply it to your company. You should be able to evolve your daily practices to reduce dissatisfaction in the future and better retain top talent.
We’re wrapping up our employee offboarding process checklist with an often-overlooked strategy — follow-up. For minimal effort, you can help boost your company image, keep doors open for future collaboration, and understand your areas for improvement more clearly. Notify your outgoing employee that you’ll contact them with a video call in the near future, and ask for additional feedback, updates on their career, and send best wishes. These are all effective offboarding strategies for building relationships and reducing the chances of sensitive information getting out.
So we’ve got a neat checklist for the steps to take, here are some handy tips to take your employee offboarding process to the next level.
Useful for your employee onboarding and offboarding process alike, keeping your NDAs, contracts, and administrative documents in a clearly labeled folder is a smart strategy. Not only does it speed up the process, but it also means even new recruits can access and execute the offboarding process in HR teams. A cloud-based drive means it is accessible from wherever you are, and you can restrict access to sensitive information.
As we briefly touched on earlier, replicable workflow templates mean you will take care of all the necessary tasks even if you’ve got a mountain of other work to get on with. With a ready-made series of steps in your task management software, you can stay compliant and keep all stakeholders happy.
With all the basic steps covered in your workflows, you free up time to personalize the employee offboarding process. From focusing your exit interview on their specific issues to celebrating their personal successes, you will gather more actionable insights and leave a more positive impression on both the departing individual and your internal team.
An internal knowledge base takes a while to set up, but it pays back dividends in turbulent times. As you redistribute an employee’s tasks to a colleague or a new recruit, it is paramount to have the materials on hand to get them up to speed efficiently.
Returning employees can make an immediate impact, combining their knowledge of your business with best practices learned elsewhere. So, to maintain close relations, you can easily set up a social media group or company events that breed a positive atmosphere.
Whether you’re new to the idea or experienced in offboarding, we’re sure you’ve picked up some valuable lessons on how to refine your approach. But what use is learning theory if you can’t put it into practice?
Bitrix24 offers a full suite of business tools to centralize the entire employee offboarding process on one user-friendly platform. From file storage and task management to automations, analytics, and much more, it is a foundation for launching an efficient, compliant, and positive offboarding experience.
So, if you’re looking to turn an employee’s exit into a strategic advantage, sign up for Bitrix24 today and get started.
The employee exit process is a series of steps an organization takes to manage the departure of an employee. It includes administrative tasks, transitioning responsibilities, conducting exit interviews, and ensuring all legal and company policy compliances are met during the employee's transition out of the company.
Standard offboarding process steps include:
The objectives of employee offboarding are all aimed at achieving a win-win situation for both the departing employee and the organization. In more detail, this means protecting company assets and information, gathering valuable feedback, maintaining compliance with legal requirements, and fostering a positive ongoing relationship with the outgoing employee.
An offboarding checklist is important as it allows you to have a consistent, comprehensive workflow. It helps you cover all necessary steps, maintain compliance, ensure no critical tasks are overlooked, and provide a positive experience for both the departing employee and the organization.