Employee Offboarding: 6 Steps to Make this Process Effective

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Offboarding is the set of activities your company performs when an employee is leaving the organization. However, many HR teams don’t have a process in place. Often an effective offboarding process is absent because other HR disciplines like onboarding, skills training and career succession planning are in the spotlight. But actually, you are much better off if you implement a professional and effective offboarding practice. And you are more likely to succeed if you go for a simple employee offboarding approach that can fit in a complex organizational reality with frequent changes.

girl at the office during onboarding process

Key reasons to have a great employee offboarding process

There are several reasons why offboarding has become an even more important skill to master for HR and managers:

Compliance – When people leave your organization, it can easily become unclear who is taking care of what. But obviously you want to adhere to employment law requirements and make sure your practice does not cause any privacy and IT security risks. Introducing a streamlined offboarding process will help your organization’s legal and IT security compliance become more waterproof.

Frequent job changes – Employees stay in their jobs for a shorter time than before. Frequent job changes mean that employee offboarding will happen more often in your organization and take up more time for HR and managers. Having an effective offboarding process will help you increase the quality of your work and save time.

Feedback – Employees who are about to leave the organization often want to help and feel that they can speak their mind more freely. This means that they can be a valuable source to get honest feedback and ideas for what you can improve.

Employer branding – With a great offboarding plan in place employees exiting your organization can become valuable ambassadors for your brand, help you attract new candidates through positive mention, and even become boomerang employees.

Company culture – A sincere and professional employee offboarding as the final chapter in the employee journey is strong proof that your company is living by its values and positively impacts employee wellbeing in the organization.

employee working from home

Easy steps to create an effective offboarding practice

Now that we are clear on why great employee offboarding can be valuable to your organization, it’s quite easy to start implementing an effective offboarding practice.

Roles and alignment – Several functions have important roles to play, and it is not irrelevant who does what and when. Make sure to create a generic offboarding plan with clear steps for the manager, HR, IT and Finance that can serve as your company’s offboarding template.

Face to face meeting – The most important messages during the offboarding are given to the employee when the termination is communicated and when the practical aspects are discussed. Being well-prepared is essential for the manager and HR to deliver an effective and empathetic offboarding practice.

Communication – With a smart offboarding checklist you can easily inform all stakeholders about the tasks they are responsible for, secure documentation and handover, and follow up on the task list to secure a successful offboarding experience.

IT and admin – If you work in an HR role, you know how important it is to have the paperwork and admin documentation under control. The same goes for IT who is responsible for computers, other devices and access to systems and buildings. An online employee departure checklist is indispensable.

Team goodbye – What matters most to people when an employee is leaving is personal relationships. When you organize a nice goodbye for the team and other colleagues you not only make the employee exit easier emotionally, but you also create a memorable employee departure.

Exit interview – Many HR teams overlook the opportunity to learn when they perform an employee deboarding. If you conduct a move on well exit interview with the employee who is departing, you can get valuable feedback about their offboarding but also about their whole employee journey like the initial onboarding, job role training and career

These elements can easily be adjusted to your organization’s culture and code of conduct and become items on your best practice offboarding checklist

Get success with a best practice offboarding template

When you say goodbye to an employee, a state of out-of-sight and out-of-mind often occurs. This can already begin when you terminate the employee or receive a letter of resignation. You are busy and already on to the next task. I have experienced this previously when I was in a People & Culture role.

But many of the tasks needed to make a professional employee offboarding take time before they are completed. When you have an offboarding template with an online checklist that is accessible and can be shared by all stakeholders on their computer and mobile, your chances of completing all tasks in good time and performing best practice offboarding increase. The template can even be improved by your team continuously.

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