Don't Just Say "See Ya Later": How Employee Offboarding Can HelpDon't Just Say "See Ya Later": How Employee Offboarding Can Help

Don't Just Say "See Ya Later": How Employee Offboarding Can Help

Megan Egbert

🍿 4 min. read

It is no surprise that companies are scrambling to keep up with the demand of training new employees. Onboarding, a critical process when hiring new employees, has to be thorough, efficient, and scalable. This is especially important in times such as this when it seems everyone is hiring. But onboarding isn’t the only employee process that needs to be refined during times of extensive turnover. The Great Resignation brings an increased need to shore up policies and procedures related to employees leaving, because they are leaving en masse. This makes employee offboarding more critical than ever.

Why offboarding matters

Offboarding can help to ensure a smooth transition when an employee is leaving. It also helps an organization plan for its next hire. It is a critical piece of process improvement, and it helps formalize the otherwise awkward last days for an employee. However, research shows us that only 29% of organizations have a formal offboarding process.

When offboarding is done well, former employees will feel heard and valued, which helps to end the work relationship on a positive note. Maintaining positive relationships with former employees does matter. A 2017 study by Dell found that more than one in three employees say it’s common to take corporate information with them when leaving a company. Another study found that about a third of corporate alumni maintain connections with previous employers either as a client, vendor, or friend—and that 15% of new hires come from alumni rehires or referrals. If you value your company information and relationships, you definitely want to be doing some offboarding.

Steps in offboarding

The steps in an offboarding process will depend a lot on the needs of your organization. Here are some common components of employee offboarding.

1. Create and communicate a transition plan

From the moment you know an employee is leaving, a transition plan should be set in motion. Who will take over which aspects of their work? Who do they need to train? Which projects can they complete and which ones do you need to transition? Document the answers and update them as an employee's last day draws near to avoid any surprises.

2. Collect all company possessions

This includes door keys, name badges, credit cards, computers, cell phones, and more. Your organization should maintain a list of the company owned items that an employee has in their possession. It is unlikely they will be able to turn in many of the things before their last day. However, you should schedule appointments with the relevant people as close to their last day as possible.

3. End or transfer accounts

We know it can feel like you have to remember hundreds of passwords for work—and there is a reason for that! One report noted that employees were asked to manage 191 passwords on average during their employment. That is a lot of accounts that will need to be transferred or ended—or at the very least to have their passwords changed.

4. Conduct an exit interview

An exit interview can provide crucial information about possible cultural problems within an organization. It also can provide insight into factors that influenced the employee to leave, which can help identify patterns.

How to make offboarding as easy as possible

Adding a new HR process might seem daunting. But there are many strategies you can use to make offboarding easy.

1. Create a checklist

An offboarding checklist will help to ensure you aren’t missing any steps in the process. Although you can find sample checklists online, your organization probably needs to customize a checklist for your specific needs. You might even need different versions for diverse job roles.

2. Automate

Many HR systems can help automate the offboarding process, but you don’t have to have fancy tech products to make the steps easier on everyone. Set calendar reminders for each step of the way. Schedule out emails with reminders and even the exit interview questions. The more you can automate, the more time you will have to continue to refine your offboarding procedures.

3. Standardize

Don’t pass a card around for one employee who is leaving and plan a catered lunch for another. The benefit of having a process is that you can apply it to any employee, and it helps both the employee and the organization know what to expect. Regardless of why an employee is leaving, you want them to feel they were treated fairly in their departure.

4. Involve the departing employee

Although the employee is leaving, they are still heavily involved in the offboarding process. Make sure you meet regularly to discuss the transition and maintain a positive relationship as they complete their final days.

The offboarding process can help you demonstrate your respect for the employee

It can be easy to see an employee’s departure as a frustration since you have another job to fill. But take a hint from Harvard Business Review: don’t act like someone is a traitor for leaving. The offboarding process can help you demonstrate your respect for the employee and your excitement about their growth. Further, it can help you find better candidates in the future. Having an offboarding process in place will help your outgoing employees retain respect for your organization. At the same time, it will help you gain insight into your company and the skills a replacement will need.

Employee offboarding training

One vital aspect of proper offboarding is training managers and other employees who are involved in the process. These employees need to understand how to complete the offboarding process in a way that ensures compliance with HR laws and policies, protection of confidential information, and a positive experience for the departing employee.

Need help with employee offboarding training?

If your company doesn’t have formalized offboarding procedures in place, now is the time to start. At EdgePoint Learning, our training experts are here to help you train your workforce with eLearning solutions and other tools. Let’s talk to learn how we can help.