Employees will leave your company, whether by resigning or being laid off, and you can hardly do anything about it. When that happens, an offboarding process allows a much smoother transition, keeps everything organized, and ensures that employment ends on good terms.
While we understand that goodbyes are never easy, an offboarding process makes everything better and more convenient. Companies and organizations need to understand this process and get familiar with the necessary steps that lead to a friendly working environment.
In this article, we will look at the offboarding process and provide the best implementation procedures.
The offboarding definition implies that it's a formal separation process your business can use to address an employee who is leaving the company. This could be done through retirement, termination, layoffs, and resignation.
It involves steps to transfer employees' job responsibilities and knowledge, access rights, deactivate passwords, get equipment, and collect feedback through an exit interview.
Offboarding for employees means they have to return company-owned equipment, such as phones, ID badges, and computers, among other things. An employee is required to deactivate all the passwords and restrict network access to the company system only, to prevent data misuse and theft.
What Is an Offboarding Process in HR?
The offboarding process has a similar purpose in HR, and it should disengage an employee from their position within a company. This practice is used for laid-off employees and those who decide to leave.
A good offboarding program should prevent any disruption within an organization, protect confidential data, provide helpful feedback from an employee, including a great farewell party, and offer an employee outplacement service if needed.
Why do you think many companies care about offboarding? If it's done properly, it can protect the company's reputation and avoid a security breach. On the other hand, this could be a great way to promote a positive working environment.
This process benefits both the existing employee and the remaining ones. It allows departing employees to leave the company on good terms while promoting loyalty and engagement towards the company.
An Employee Exit Process
An employee exit process is applied when an employee is leaving the company. When an employee reaches a certain age, they are eligible for retirement; however, there are other ways an employee can exit the company, and they can either resign or get laid off.
Whatever the case, a company must complete certain formalities or paperwork associated with the employee exit. In other words, this decision must pass through some systematic processes, like recovery of assets, clearance from a department, exit interviews, etc.
Some of the formalities to include in your exit process:
- Firstly, you need to acknowledge the resignation. If an employee has decided to leave your company, expect to receive a resignation letter. You need to let them know that you have received this letter.
- From there, HR will continue with the exit process, discussing the last day of work with an employee. Usually, the notice period is already added and included in the appointment letter when an employee has joined.
- Before they leave, if a recruit is taking that position, the resigning employee should share their knowledge with a new employee. An employer should set up a meeting between the two of them so that the leaving employee can share some critical aspects of the role with a new hire.
An Employee Offboarding Checklist
An employee offboarding checklist should look something like this:
- Communicate the departure: Notify your team that their coworker is leaving the company. You want to avoid gossip and rumors around the workplace.
- Ask the leaving employee to transfer the knowledge to their successor. If you have a successor in mind, this step should be smooth.
- Get company assets: You would be surprised to know that many companies fail to recover assets like laptops and smartphones, leading to money loss and a security breach.
- Update company directory and org chart: To ensure a smooth transition, ensure your company directory and org chart are up-to-date.
- Deny system access: You don't want to be exposed to cybersecurity breaches. Therefore, make sure to revoke the system access to former employees.
- Complete the final pay process: In some organizations, employees aren't taken off the payroll months after their exit, and that's not something you want.
- Carry out an exit interview: Keep your questions short and on point, while encouraging honesty. You can use this data to prevent highly performing employees from leaving your team.
- Provide a letter of reference: This might depend on the circumstances of your separation, but you are legally obliged to provide contracts, a certificate of service, and final pay.
- Thank your leaving employee: If your employee is leaving on good terms, at least you can thank them for their service.
Onboarding and Offboarding Process Document
Organizations that have an established onboarding and offboarding process save a significant amount of time. The main goal of these activities is to set up a smooth sequence of actions, taking up as little time as possible.
The onboarding and offboarding chart template contain all the necessary steps to onboard or offboard an employee. You can split these steps between departments, so everyone can stay on the same page.
Acquisitions, IT, and HR play an important role in this process. However, depending on your company policies, you can choose to involve other departments you consider relevant. The onboarding and offboarding document should serve as a guideline, but remember that you can adjust it to accommodate your company's goals.
Offboarding Process Flow Chart
An offboarding process flow chart can help your company in multiple ways. First, it evaluates your offboarding process for inconsistencies and gaps, while clarifying individual and team responsibilities during the offboarding process.
This flow chart enables your organization to set up a positive example so even when employees decide to leave your company one day, they will have a pleasant experience.
Offboarding Best Practices
If you want to make your offboarding repeatable and actionable, focus on the following best practices:
- Managers should leave an employee offboarding: An employee's manager should be present throughout this process, the same way they were during onboarding.
- Go through the exiting employee workflow: What are they responsible for at the moment? What processes do they manage? You need to document everything and share it properly.
- Utilize employee newsletter as a consistent communication tool. Employee newsletters are an excellent way to link all members of staff (both current and former) so that they can stay abreast of changes to the organization, updates on job openings, and other useful information.
- Focus on administration: An employee's exit demands a lot of paperwork and administrative tasks. Talk to your HR team to complete the final administrative task.
- Write a statement: A coordinated statement will notify the rest of your team about the exiting employee. You need to allow this employee to share with their coworkers that they are leaving in a way it feels right to them.
- Don't skip an exit interview: We already mentioned that an exit interview gives you valuable feedback.
- Develop a temporary plan: If there is no one to replace the employees who are leaving, you need to develop a temporary work plan.
- Hire a replacement: Work with your HR team to find a replacement as soon as possible. Make sure to use a transition plan you created to keep work on track.