The offboarding of an employee is an often overlooked practice in HR. Understandably so, because when someone is leaving, it is tempting to ‘just get it done and move on’. But what if we told you that by utilizing an offboarding checklist, the offboarding process can be made less uncomfortable or even beneficial in some ways?
This article will help you to understand why offboarding is important and how you can optimize the employee offboarding process. Let’s get into it!
Why is a good Offboarding important?
A good offboarding process ensures that the employee and the organization both experience the least amount of hassle during the separation. In fact, an offboarding done well allows both parties to learn from the past affiliation.
In order to understand why it is important, it is critical to understand that the offboarding program consists of more than just the termination of an employee’s contract.
When comparing the offboarding process to the onboarding of an employee, it quickly becomes clear how a good offboarding can improve the employee’s experience. Whereas onboarding introduces a new hire to the company’s expectations and culture, offboarding focuses on making the departure go smoothly, with its ultimate goal to ‘keep the door open’ to ex-employees.
What is employee Offboarding?
Offboarding is the separation process between an employee and the organization. The process usually comprises formal processes, starting with the resignation to the termination of an employee, but also informal events such as a goodbye drink with the employee’s direct colleagues.
The following steps summarize the offboarding program:
- Communication and compliance
- Knowledge transfer- and retention
- Recovery of company assets
- Systems- and accounts security
- Exit interviews
- Organizing the farewell
What does a proper Offboarding process look like?
There are generally three reasons to offboard an employee: by resignation, a dismissal (or layoff) or retirement. Each of these scenarios require a slightly different approach, which will result in a different checklist of tasks. This guide provides a general approach which can be easily converted to fit your organization’s needs.
Creating an employee offboarding checklist can be made easier by following the eight steps to create a streamlined offboarding process:
1. Communication is key
Swift communication makes the entire process go smoothly. The employee will appreciate it if they are put at ease after handing in their resignation letter. When all of the parties involved know what is expected of them, the chance of frustrations occurring is slim.
For the company, clear and timely communication of the employee’s departure is also important. It avoids gossips, allows managers and colleagues to prepare, and gives ample of time to hire a replacement. With the right recruitment and succession planning tools, part of this process can be automated.
Communication in offboarding usually involves:
- Aligning the employee, managers and the HR- and IT department;
- Calling the employee for details;
- Notifying the payroll provider;
- Announcing the employee’s department to the company;
2. Handling the paperwork
Everyone’s favorite part is filing the paperwork… right? Well, if you are lucky enough to have a document management solution that offers a central place to store all the employee’s documents, this step doesn’t have to be that cumbersome.
Offboarding usually requires filing or updating paperwork such as the following:
- An official letter of resignation and exit form;
- Departure arrangements: like the date of the last paycheck, health insurance information, lease contracts, etc.;
- Leave, holidays, and payroll related documents;
- The employee’s learning trajectories, certificates, or in case of an involuntary departure – collecting a log of events that lead up to the dismissal;
- Other settlements like updating the organizational charts.
3. Knowledge transfer- and retention
What does your organization value most about its people? This is the question you will need to answer for an effective knowledge transfer. Retaining knowledge in the organization is crucial for a new colleague substituting the person that is leaving, as their successor will need to be trained, preferably before the employee leaves.
Examples of attributes that can be part of the handover are:
- Daily routine, regular tasks. Prioritized with instructions if needed;
- Outstanding tasks and projects the employee is working on;
- Files, dossiers and document templates;
- Contacts, both inside and outside the organization;
- Useful sources of information the employee utilizes;
- Assign the employee as a buddy to train their successor during their last week(s).
4. Exit interview(s)
To gain insights of the employee’s motivations for leaving is to discover opportunities for improvement. To gather this data, questions like the following can be asked in an interview or in some cases a questionnaire:
- What about their job worked well and what did not?
- Did the employee have enough resources and support to do their job effectively?
- Were the employee’s responsibilities and working load well divided among coworkers?
- What are the employee’s thoughts of managers, colleagues and business processes?
- Was there anything your organization could have done to make them stay?
5. Company assets recovery
Make sure you receive all company assets nicely and on time. In most HR solutions, assets can be allocated to an employee, which makes it easy to see which assets are to be recovered. Think of a laptop, phone, keys, credit cards, lease vehicle, working equipment, etc..
6. Revoke access to systems and accounts
To avoid security breaches, it is important to revoke the departing employee’s access to sensitive company systems. This is often the part where the IT department comes in to disable the central user account (when using cloud-based applications). This can include the following:
- IT permissions and access (Email, file sharing platforms, tools specific to your company);
- External accounts (depending on the role);
- Reset shared passwords (even in 2021, departments tend to have those!).
7. Disembark in style
If the departing employee is up to it, organize an informal event for them and their colleagues. Think of throwing a party, sending a personal goodbye gift or simply having lunch at a nice place.
If your organization wants to go the extra mile, consider writing a recommendation letter for future reference, or writing a recommendation on their LinkedIn page or website.
8. Checklist automation and offboarding software
The previous points composite a laundry list of tasks for different people in various departments. By creating an offboarding checklist, you have a simple overview of what needs to be done by whom. With modern Boarding solutions, tasks can be assigned to people and/or departments. After a good implementation, tasks can be crossed off automatically upon completion.
The Checklist for Employee Offboarding
To help you get started with organizing your offboarding program, we created an editable Excel template. Download the offboarding checklist for free below!
This off-boarding checklist will not only help you to structure your employee exit process, it also serves as a good basis for automating the checklist in a Boarding solution. FourVision’s Boarding Web App for Microsoft Dynamics 365 HR and F&O supports both Offboarding, Onboarding and Cross-boarding.
Get your free Offboarding Checklist Template
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Offboarding checklist specifications:
- Digital offboarding checklist with configurable drop-down menu;
- Specify what needs to be done by whom;
- Editable in Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) or Google Sheets;
- Also contains a printable checklist (A4 or to PDF);
If you would like to know more about the specifics of Offboarding and its benefits, feel free to read the following articles we wrote earlier:
The benefits of a good Offboarding →
How to structure your Offboarding process →