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The 5 Best Practices to Make Offboarding a Priority

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The 5 Best Practices to Make Offboarding a Priority

Employee exit management or ‘offboarding’ describes the predefined and consciously designed process that is implemented to separate an employee or contractor from a company seamlessly and in good faith. Offboarding is part of the natural employee lifecycle. It is especially relevant now when many companies are struggling to survive and some have to make the difficult decision to part with their staff. Research shows that only 29% of organizations [1] have a partially automated offboarding process, and only 5% have a fully automated employee exit procedure for employee offboarding.

While employee onboarding and performance management get widespread attention from HR, statistics show that the process of offboarding employees is still largely unrecognized and thus underutilized. This neglect can result in unnecessary and ugly backlash for the company such as regulatory violations, data breaches, gaps in knowledge transfers, and reputational damage. Companies need to realize that good employee offboarding is as essential as onboarding. They must give the employee offboarding process as much thought and careful consideration as they do for the new hire process. existing employee

What is Employee Offboarding?

Employee offboarding is more than just the exit interview with departing employees. It is the full process that ushers in the formal separation between an outgoing employee and the company. This formal offboarding process can be due to several reasons including termination, resignation, or retirement.

Whatever the reason may be, an effective employee offboarding checklist helps ensure that each employee's departure is smooth, a positive experience and that all processes and decisions regarding exiting employees are completed before they leave.

Some of the important steps in a well-structured offboarding process include:

1. Endorsing the job responsibilities of the departing employee.
2. Disseminating information to other team members about the employee's exit.
3. Deactivating exiting employee's passwords and removing access to company accounts and servers.
4. Returning of all company equipment and company property.
5. Consolidating and liquidating any remaining employee leaves.
6. Conducting exit interviews to gather honest feedback and get valuable insight into why the employee is leaving.

Why a Good Employee Offboarding Process Matters

Offboarding ensures that all loose ends are addressed for each departing employee. This way companies know every base is covered and departing employees can leave without worrying about having to return for things like giving back an access pass or resolving issues with their final paycheck.

Investing in the process of smoothly ending the relationship with former employees will not only ensure that your logistics are secure but will also help improve existing employee retention rates and decrease employee turnover.  If your current employees know you care about them from the moment they are hired all the way until their farewell party, they will feel that the company is fully invested in them which fosters loyalty and can contribute to decreasing employee attrition.

5 Employee Offboarding Best Practices

Because your goodbyes are as important as your hellos, we have put together 5 offboarding best practices that you should include in your offboarding workflow.

1. Conduct an Exit Interview

The constructive feedback of departing employees can be incredibly insightful. As they are no longer dependent on the income provided by the company, they can be open and honest about their experience during the exit interview. Employers can use exit interviews to gather insight into why an employee is leaving. HR Department can utilize this information to address any issues within the company, make improvements, and boost employee retention.

Since exit interviews shouldn't be too long, this may also be a good time to ask exiting employees to take an employment survey before they leave to supplement their interview answers.

2. Safeguard Knowledge Transfer

Finding a replacement for a former employee can take some time. Hiring managers should start the search for a replacement for a leaving employee early to avoid a productivity drop. In the interim, urge departing staff to properly document project responsibilities, transfer process knowledge, and various ownerships of resources. If possible, get the exiting employee to train the new hire to ensure a smooth transition.

3. Retrieve Company Assets

Many employees use company assets to do their job, such as computers and phones. Keep a record of these assets given to each employee on file throughout their tenure. This list can then be used to retrieve the assets during the offboarding process. Ideally, it is also agreed in writing that the employee will take appropriate care of the asset and in the event of loss or damage, the replacement cost may be deductible from their final pay.

4. Ensure Compliance

It is crucial to abide by legal compliance standards in the offboarding process to protect the organization against potential security risks. Although employees are likely to have passwords and access to sensitive information, these privileges should not be available to anyone outside of the organization. To be prepared, have a list of all the legal and industry compliance requirements on hand. Upon the announcement of departure, instruct the IT and procurement departments to revoke access to all offices, company files, and information. Collect all keys and change the locks of keys that are not returned.

5. Part on a Good Note

Regardless of the reason that an employee is leaving, it is important to leave things on a good note and leave depart employees with a positive impression. Show appreciation for their efforts, celebrate their achievements, be grateful for their loyalty, and treat them with the respect they deserve. A memorable farewell will likely leave a positive overall experience which will encourage ex-employees to speak highly of their experience and ultimately increase the employer brand value. Remember, how you treat departing employees says as much about your brand as how you treat new arrivals.

At the end of the day, it pays to make offboarding a priority rather than an afterthought and this can be achieved with the help of technology and automation.

Qualee's customizable journeys are Cloud-powered and mobile enabled, making them ideal for offboarding staff, from anywhere. This is crucial in today's remote work structure.

You might be interested in the following resources:
Calculate onboarding ROI using our Onboarding Cost Calculator
Learn about our Employee Engagement Platform
Trial our Employee Onboarding App
Our Recommended Exit Interview Questions for an Effective Offboarding Experience

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