What is offboarding?
Offboarding is when an employee concludes their current position, which may be due to resignation, termination, or retirement. The process begins with resignation and ends on the employee’s last day.
Pre- and onboarding focus on helping a new employee integrate into the company while offboarding focuses on the employee’s remaining time within the organization.
Why is Offboarding Important?
Although the offboarding process may seem unnecessary, it is quite the opposite. There are numerous benefits to an efficient and structured offboarding process:
Reduce financial losses – Without an offboarding plan, situations can arise where the company continues to pay for the employee’s benefits and licences even though they are no longer working there.
Avoid legal consequences – Collecting and signing the appropriate documents after departure or termination helps mitigate the risk of legal outcome.
Enhance security – Ensure that the departing employee returns company assets, closes accounts, and revokes access rights to prevent sensitive information from being mishandled or leaked.
Manage the transition seamlessly – Who will take over when the employee leaves, and how will the team handle the losses?
Gather feedback – Employee departures often result in a significant loss of knowledge for the company. Listen to the employees’ opinions and collect their improvement suggestions.
Maintain a good relationship – End on the best possible terms, make sure the employee feels respected and appreciated for their time with the company. Your paths may cross again, and re-employment could be a possibility. Therefore, ensure that the individual has a positive final experience as an employee.
Former employees are brand ambassadors – Ending on a sour note can have significant consequences for the company. Rumours spread quickly, and a potential candidate may decline an offer based on what they have heard.
Common mistakes during offboarding
- Treating the departing employee poorly.
- Overloading the employee with additional work during the notice period.
- Taking the resignation personally as a manager and feeling betrayed.
- Skipping or rushing through the exit interview not finding out why the employee is leaving.
- Failing to communicate the news to relevant departments and employees.
- Deprioritizing or forgetting knowledge transfer to the replacement.
- Forgetting to collect equipment, revoke licences, and adjust account permissions.
Tips for Creating a Memorable Offboarding Experience
Creating a memorable offboarding experience involves putting the employee at the center. To do this, you must allocate time in your already busy schedule, which can be challenging considering the growing workload when an employee resigns. To create a memorable offboarding experience, consider the following tips:
1. Map out all the steps of the offboarding process
To know what needs to be done and by whom, go through each step of the process. Create a process map to visually and clearly understand all the stages. You can also refer to the company’s pre- and onboarding processes to identify the steps involved when an employee joins the company.
An example of how the offboarding process may look:
Download the offboarding process map
2. Create checklists for all departments
The classic checklist is the key to success. It must be clear to each department what needs to be done when an employee leaves.
A recommended approach is to develop an overarching checklist and individual checklists for each department. The overarching list is crucial for assigning ownership, ensuring coordination, and maintaining adherence to the timeline. With multiple departments involved, effective synchronization becomes challenging without a designated leader.
3. Optimize the notice period
Long notice periods have become increasingly common nowdays. Therefore, you and the departing employee may have several weeks or months together. It is crucial to utilize this remaining time effectively to prevent substantial knowledge and financial losses for the company.
Bear in mind that employees who resign may potentially return to the company in the future, armed with enhanced experience and expertise.
Nurture a positive relationship with the employee
Similar to making a lasting first impression, you have an opportunity to leave a memorable final impression. Express appreciation for the time spent together, even if circumstances may not always be ideal. Handling the situation with professionalism and respect is essential.
“A former employee can become a walking advertisement for your company.”
Your brand ambassadors extend beyond current employees; they can also include former ones. Hence, it is crucial to capitalize on the remaining time with the departing employee.
Don’t overlook knowledge transfer
Ensure that the departing employee handover their knowledge to their successor. When an individual leaves, their expertise leaves with them. Therefore, making a proper handover is vital. Consider including the following points during the handover process:
- Document daily tasks.
- Identify ongoing or upcoming projects and clarify the employee’s role.
- Specify their assigned tasks and deadlines.
- Facilitate the transfer of materials, files, and documents.
- Share contact details of key individuals.
- Determine the systems access required for the successor.
Conduct a comprehensive exit interview
Exit interviews often perceived as mere formalities. However, when conducted effectively, they can show invaluable insights into the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Consider asking the following relevant questions:
- Did the job meet your initial expectations?
- Were you provided with the necessary resources and support to perform effectively?
- Would you recommend the company to others seeking employment? Why or why not?
- Is there anything that could have been done differently to retain you?
- How would you describe your relationship with your manager and colleagues?
- What improvements can we make?
It is crucial to take all feedback seriously. By identifying areas for improvement and implementing necessary measures to foster a better work environment, you can enhance employee satisfaction and retention.
Retrieve equipment, mobile phones, keys, etc.
Surprisingly, many companies fail to recover all equipment from departing employees during the offboarding process. Often, this is due to a lack of inventory management. Maintaining control over the equipment in use and tracking its allocation is vital. Ensure the following steps are taken:
- Designate a responsible individual for company equipment.
- Create an inventory list specifying who possesses which items.
- Conduct a thorough review and check-off when an employee departs.
Terminate accounts, licenses, and permissions
Several instances of cybersecurity breaches can be attributed to former employees. Failure to deactivate their system access due to inadequate offboarding processes can have severe consequences. Cybersecurity should be treated with the utmost seriousness, and all accounts and permissions should be promptly revoked to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of valuable company information.
Digitize and automate processes
As previously mentioned, one of the most critical aspects of offboarding is dedicating time to the departing employee and leveraging their remaining time for their benefit and the company. However, manual handling of tasks can make resource allocation challenging. Rather than grappling with piles of paperwork, consider implementing software to streamline the process and ensure that all involved parties fulfill their responsibilities within the prescribed timeline.
Why did we develop Zervicepoint? To help you save valuable time! Zervicepoint is an automation platform that seamlessly integrates with your existing systems and can be implemented organization-wide. Discover how Zervicepoint can support the digitalization and automation of your HR processes.
Arrange a farewell lunch or coffee break.
Express gratitude towards the departing employee by organizing a farewell lunch or coffee break with the team. While some may prefer a grand celebration, others may opt for a small and simple gathering.
Conclude gracefully and demonstrate appreciation for the employee’s contributions within the company.