How to Create a Thorough Offboarding Process

When it’s time to say goodbye to an employee, you want the experience to be as professional and efficient as it was during onboarding. 

How to Create a Thorough Offboarding Process

November 5, 2021

When it’s time to say goodbye to an employee, you want the experience to be as professional and efficient as it was during onboarding. 

Whether employees leave your organization via retirement, restructuring, resignation, or other reasons, you should manage their exit with both dignity and respect. By effectively managing the employee offboarding process, you can ensure smooth employee departures with minimal disruption to your business.

The Importance of Effective Offboarding

Offboarding is sometimes an overlooked stage of the employee lifecycle. After all, once employees are gone, they no longer factor into your plans for training, performance management, and engagement. However, offboarding is critical to your talent management success because your treatment of departing employees can impact your success in attracting and managing your current employees.

Here are three top reasons why effective offboarding is important to your organization:

  • It affects your reputation: These days, it’s common for jobseekers to read online reviews about a company before they apply. Any good (or bad) reviews about how you offboard employees can influence candidate perceptions and affect whether they decide to apply.
  • It affects employee attitudes within your workforce: How you treat departing employees tells others what they might experience someday. When existing employees see their peers have positive exit experiences, they can gain the confidence they will also be treated fairly and respectfully.
  • It helps you understand why people leave: When you follow a standardized offboarding process and conduct a detailed exit interview, you can better understand the circumstances leading to resignation.

5 Steps to Offboarding Success

According to Aberdeen Research, only 29 percent of organizations have a formal offboarding process. Without a structured program for managing employee exits, you can miss out on the benefits of effective offboarding and overlook opportunities to improve the employee experience.

To ensure consistently smooth employee offboarding in your organization, take the following actions:

  1. Manage the communication: When an employee leaves, you’ll need to notify all the critical stakeholders. For example, the employee’s immediate work team needs to know about the employee’s departure so they can reorganize team deliverables. Other groups, such as IT and payroll, need to know so they can take important follow-up actions before the employee’s last day. Moreover, if you plan to replace departing employees, then you’ll also need to notify your recruiting team.
  2. Standardize exit activities: To operate an organized offboarding process, make a checklist of all the tasks to be completed when employees leave the company. For example, you’ll need to turn off system access, provide instructions for returning company property, and communicate benefits and payroll information to employees. Thankfully, there are many offboarding platforms available to help automate the process. You can also work with an HR services company to manage all of your offboarding activities.
  3. Conduct thorough exit interviews: Think of exit interviews as exit surveys. They give you a final chance to understand the employee experience from the perspective of (almost) former employees. Exit surveys also help you identify aspects of your culture you may want to change to prevent resignations and reduce turnover.
  4. Develop a plan for handing off job responsibilities: You may not have much time to transition an exiting employee’s responsibilities, so you’ll need to plan the hand-off process as soon as possible. In some cases, you may have another team member who can fill in temporarily. But in other cases, you may need to hire freelance or contract staff to help out until you hire a permanent replacement.   
  5. Retain relationships: Employees who leave may not be gone forever. In fact, an Accountemps survey found that 52 percent of employees said they would return to a former employer. Given the possibility you may rehire former employees, it’s a good idea to stay in touch. For example, you could develop an alumni program and stay connected with former employees via LinkedIn.

Conduct Smooth Offboarding Every Time

Your offboarding practices have the potential to impact how well you attract candidates and engage your workforce. Therefore, you should have a thorough process for managing communications, completing the necessary paperwork, and giving departing employees a graceful exit. As your full-service HR partner, MarvelHR can help you manage the entire employee lifecycle, from onboarding to offboarding. Contact us to learn more.

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