7 Steps to Positively Manage Employee Offboarding

HR Insights for Professionals

HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, August 26, 2019

Effective employee onboarding can be a critical element of business success, but it can be equally important to focus on employee offboarding to maintain a strong employer brand.

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Every business understands the importance of good employee onboarding. Helping new employees make the smoothest and most efficient possible start to their working life in the organization is advantageous for everyone.

This is reflected in a number of studies:

  • 54% of companies with dedicated onboarding programs report higher employee engagement
  • Organizations with standard onboarding processes experience 50% greater new-hire productivity
  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for 3 years if they experienced great onboarding

Onboarding is clearly significant, but what about the other end of an employee’s working life with you? Well-managed offboarding can also deliver many benefits, including advantages for your employer brand and the experience of other employees.

Here are some of the key steps that can help you ensure offboarding is overseen just as effectively as onboarding:

1. Announce the departure promptly

As long as the departing employee is happy for you to do so, it makes sense to announce that they’re leaving as soon as possible. This means the individual’s colleagues, team members and other people who work closely with them will have sufficient time to prepare for the change.

This could be particularly important for anyone in a senior role, or someone whose day-to-day tasks have a big impact on many other roles in the organization.

2. Allow plenty of time for a handover

The thorough and efficient handover of responsibilities is one of the most vital parts of the offboarding process, since you want to have maximum confidence that one individual’s departure isn’t going to have a disruptive impact on the business as a whole. The person leaving will also want to feel confident their job is in safe hands when they go.

An in-depth handover should cover:

  • The fundamental daily tasks and processes involved in the role
  • Ongoing projects, deadlines, goals and KPIs
  • Key contacts including customers, stakeholders, partners and suppliers
  • Access to admin resources such as spreadsheets and files, as well as logins and passwords

3. Tie up loose ends

An effective offboarding process should make the departing employee feel comfortable that every loose end has been tied up and there are no outstanding admin matters or tasks that could cause an issue in the future. Making sure everything is properly finalized is also good practice for the business.

One of the key priorities is to ensure the individual’s pay is properly looked after, with the payroll department given all the information it needs to guarantee proper compensation. You’ll also want to be sure any company assets - such as laptops or tablets - are returned.

4. Conduct an exit interview

The exit interview gives the employee the opportunity to share their views on their experience of working for the business. Seeing as the individual is leaving and should therefore feel comfortable to speak candidly, it’s one of the best chances you’ll get to gain honest feedback on what it’s like to work for you.

These could be vital insights that help you improve the workplace experience for remaining staff.

5. Thank the employee and leave the door open for return

Regardless of how you feel about the individual leaving, and however sad other workers might feel about it, the offboarding process is an opportunity to show your gratitude for all they’ve done for the company. This could come in the form of a simple verbal ‘thank you’, a leaving gift or a party where everyone can say their goodbyes.

Furthermore, parting on good terms will leave the door open for the person to return in future, should the opportunity arise.

6. Update systems access

From a cybersecurity perspective, it’s important to ensure anyone leaving the organization has their access to your IT systems revoked. Even if you feel confident the individual will pose no threat after their departure, it’s good practice to keep your systems access up to date, in light of how big a threat cyber-attacks pose to businesses today.

7. Stay in touch

Maintaining contact with former colleagues can offer many potential advantages, including job candidate referrals and networking opportunities with the ex-employee’s new company. There could even be possibilities for them to become a customer of yours.

Some companies choose to keep in touch with former workers via alumni programs, which can make it much easier to stay in touch and discuss future opportunities.

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