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Employee Offboarding Best Practices

Blog PostsOnboarding & Offboarding

Employee Offboarding Best Practices

Read Time: 7 minutes Published: October 30, 2021

People are always leaving an organization as part of the natural employee journey. While the circumstances for departures can vary, it is important to ensure that these processes are well-defined within an organization so they go smoothly for all parties involved.

A smooth employee offboarding process will benefit both the departing employee and your organization. By incorporating some offboarding best practices and automating the offboarding process from start to finish, businesses can offer their employees a graceful exit.

What Is Employee Offboarding?

Employee offboarding describes the formal process of an employee being separated from a company and focuses on the exit procedures to be followed when an employee leaves the organization and occurs most commonly after resignation, termination, or retirement.

While employee offboarding is often associated with unpleasant firings and layoffs— the truth is, offboarding can be as much of a celebratory process as onboarding! Maybe an employee is leaving because of a new career opportunity, or maybe they are retiring after years of loyal service. In the more amiable cases, celebrating their achievements and showing gratitude for their contributions will result in an enjoyable offboarding process for everyone involved.

There are a number of reasons why you may be offboarding an employee, and not all offboarding procedures are the same. Whether it’s an ending contract, a voluntary resignation, retirement, or a layoff/firing, we’re here to guide you through some employee offboarding best practices.

Rather than boarding up the windows and slamming the door shut when an employee wants to quit, organizations need to take the time to understand the reason behind their decision and provide assistance however they need it.

The following information discusses three offboarding best practices to ensure a smooth and graceful departure.

3 Employee Offboarding Best Practices

1. Treat the employee with respect

Regardless of the reason behind the person’s departure, they should be treated with respect and dignity throughout the employee offboarding process. Managers and team leaders should avoid taking resignations personally. Instead, thank the person for their time with the company and wish them well for the future. In the event of termination, this offboarding best practice is even more important. Ensure you have supports in place to help the employee during what can be a difficult time. 

2. Keep all stakeholders informed

The departing employee should be kept in the loop throughout their offboarding process so they know what to expect, and when. This allows them to prepare for steps like an exit interview, and avoids any surprises when system access is revoked. Likewise, their teammates, colleagues, and external clients or partners should all be informed in a timely manner to ensure continuity and prevent confusion about future points of contact. This also allows for relevant knowledge transfer to take place before the employee leaves.

3. Have an established employee offboarding process in place

As soon as a resignation is received or a termination is confirmed, you should have a process in place that kicks in immediately. In most cases, notice periods are short, and there is a lot of work to be done within this brief timeframe. Now is your opportunity to get all of the information you may need from an employee before they leave, and vice versa. Keep reading for the five steps you should include in your offboarding checklist.

Employee Offboarding Process: 5 Step Checklist

1. Prepare the Paperwork

Don’t let an employee leave without dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s! If you have any support teams, such as HR and payroll, let them know about a resignation or termination so they can prepare the proper paperwork. Prepare the applicable offboarding documentation and paperwork, including:

  • Signed resignation or termination letters
  • Signed non disclosure or non compete forms
  • Benefits documents
  • Last paychecks
  • Tax documents

You should also make sure you have the departing employee’s updated contact information on file, in case any paperwork needs to be mailed to them in the future. Additionally, having a complete list of compliance and regulatory aspects of employee exit is very important to prevent the improper use of resources.

2. Create a Transition Plan

It’s important for everyone to be onboard when someone leaves the workplace. Create an exit notification group through Slack or e-mail with relevant managers and team members. Figure out what responsibilities need to be re-delegated, where emails should be rerouted, and what information needs to be transferred. If an employee is being fired, discuss what security measures need to be taken to avoid a data breach.

You may also want to follow up with any clients and contractors that were working with your offboarding employee. Let them know what transitions are taking place and who they should be in contact with once your employee leaves. Keeping everyone on the same page will be vital in preventing gaps in productivity and help keep your business running smoothly.

3. Recover Company Equipment

Make sure to retrieve any company-issued devices and property that an employee may have. This includes computers, mobile devices, keys, credit cards, uniforms, and any other company owned equipment. Create a list of items that need to be returned and let employees know in advance when company equipment should be returned. All items should be returned before an employee leaves (or “signs off” if they are remote) on their last day.

For offices that have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, it’s a good idea to have your leaving employee meet with your IT admin to wipe company data off personal devices, whether it be a personal laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You should also revoke access to any software licenses and programs to keep your company data safe and secure.

4. Getting Feedback

If an employee is leaving on good terms, having an exit interview may help your business to gain insight on how you can improve in different ways. Receiving criticism can be tough, but understanding the perspective of a leaving employee can ultimately help you improve employee retention in the future.

Exit interviews are one of the most genuine and pure forms of feedback a company can solicit from employees. If you are not conducting interviews for your departing employees, you are missing out on a wealth of both positive and constructive feedback that your organization could be using to help itself improve.

5. Reset & Revoke Access to Systems

Access to company emails and other systems must be revoked once the offboarding process is completed. This is essential to ensure former employees are no longer able to access sensitive information. Just one look at a company’s sensitive information from the wrong person (perhaps a disgruntled employee), will show that the risk of data theft can never be taken lightly for your own organization and customers alike.

Leveraging technology like the Electric Platform can make for a smoother and employee offboarding process that takes the burden of hours of operational IT work off of your HR or people department. Automation of the employee offboarding process streamlines the process and eliminates redundancies.

Automating the Employee Offboarding Process

Simply having a formal offboarding process doesn’t mean your company is carrying it out effectively. Manually offboarding employees can take hours to implement correctly. And what if you have to onboard or offboard several new people at once, for multiple different departments?

That’s why there’s Electric’s employee offboarding solution. With a few clicks, all of the most painful and often overlooked parts of offboarding are covered. You can also manage company settings and set up preferences for each department to reduce redundancy. For offboarding, this includes things like re-provisioning company-issued devices, rerouting emails, and revoking access.

The Electric Platform can effectively streamline a formal offboarding process. All you need to do is plug in a few details and Electric does the rest. It’s fast and secure for a stress-free transition. Contact us to learn more.

Justin Sheil

Justin Sheil has 5+ years experience writing about a wide range of technology topics.

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