In case you didn’t know, offboarding is just as important as onboarding. Having an offboarding checklist is a great way to ensure you remember to cover everything with departing employees.
It makes a lasting impression on ex-employees. It’s also a great chance for honest feedback. What do employees really think about the company culture? Do workers feel free to report problems with their managers?
Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your workplace and thank departing employees. To ensure a successful offboarding experience, don’t forget to include these important steps on your offboarding checklist.
Involve the right people
Try to make sure a neutral person (like HR) conducts exit interviews. Current managers and supervisors might be part of the reason this employee is leaving.
That said, you’ll still want to get managers and others involved in certain parts of the offboarding process, including:
- Manager or supervisor (not in exit interview)
- Co-workers and peers
- IT (checking hardware and software lockouts)
- Human Resources
Prepare the paperwork ahead
You’ll want to develop a streamlined process. Some employees may quit with very short notice, so offboarding checklists are helpful.
Prepare forms ahead of time with information specific to that employee. NDA’s and non-competes can be collected into packets in advance as well. Here are just a few of the standard offboarding HR tasks:
- Final pay info
- Resolving benefits
- 401(k) rollovers
- Sign COBRA paperwork (receipt or denial)
- Review non-disclosure non-compete agreements
Congratulate and thank the employee
It may seem like a small thing, but don’t forget to say “thank you” to outgoing employees. Some employees give many years of their lives to help the company succeed. Some will have spent weekends thinking about work-related problems and gaining new skills for the job. It’s nice to acknowledge that hard work.
If they’re advancing their personal career with a better paying job elsewhere, then it’s nice to congratulate them and wish them well. If the offboarding process is coldly professional, then departing employees can feel unappreciated.
Inform co-workers (as appropriate)
When staff disappear unexpectedly, it can cause distractions, rumors, and confusion. Try to minimize workplace drama by appropriately informing necessary co-workers.
Co-workers may not need to hear all the details, and you may withhold the news while the employee isn’t leaving for multiple weeks. The departing worker might tell their friends, but a brief, formal announcement makes sure that others aren’t left completely out of the loop.
Facilitate and formalize the knowledge transfer
Jobs tend to change over time. The old job description for this employee’s role will likely need to be updated. They may also have useful insights for training their replacement.
Be sure to discuss the following subjects with departing workers:
- Useful resources and lessons learned
- List of contacts and collaborators
- Ongoing projects and unfinished tasks
- Location of files and records
- Any new training needed for successor
Recover all company assets
Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to recover company assets. Access cards and parking tags may be needed until their last day, but you can provide an offboarding checklist along with the replacement costs well in advance.
Secure any expensive electronics like computers earlier in the process, and check the serial numbers. A misplaced or swapped laptop will be harder to resolve after the employee has collected their last paycheck.
Here are a few additional items that you may need to consider:
- Keys, RFID cards
- Computers and hardware accessories
- Phones, pagers, headsets, etc.
- Parking tags
- Uniforms and ID badges
Revoke system access
Former employees shouldn’t be able to access company software, not even the Learning Management System. Work with your IT department to secure the company’s files and information in a timely fashion.
Some important IT-related items to remember:
- Lockout employee
- Transfer access to replacement or manager
- Change/update passwords
- Set up email redirects and call forwarding
- Update directory and company website
Conduct an exit interview
As we already mentioned, you don’t want the employee’s manager conducting the exit interview. Ask for constructive input and invite positive feedback, asking which of their colleagues are doing the best work.
Try not to be too formal as you work your way through your onboarding checklist:
- Have them complete a questionnaire
- Connect with personal conversation
- Invite open-ended input and feedback
- Get their perspective on managers and co-workers
- Get suggestions for company culture and future trainings
- Offer thanks and congratulations as appropriate
Update organizational charts
Every workforce changes over time, but you need to have a clear chain of responsibility. Don’t let your org charts get outdated, especially if the position remains vacant for a while. A change of staff is a good time to ask whether the org chart still reflects the way the company currently runs.
If you have payroll software, then offboarding may not be too complicated for a single person to manage thanks to automation. You don’t want to continue paying for benefits after the ex-employee is no longer eligible. Whether the employee is paid a salary or hourly wages, it’s nice if you can confirm when they should expect their final paycheck.
Set up COBRA and benefits
It’s important to keep clear records and follow procedure. A mistake in paperwork can be expensive for your company, especially when benefits and COBRA are involved. That’s one reason why many companies outsource COBRA administration.
Additionally, many benefits may terminate with the last month of employment, but you’ll need to make those policies clear for your departing employee.
Stay connected when possible
An exit interview is not the time to forge a friendship, but it’s good to maintain those connections. Former employees can be major brand ambassadors for your company, and many will continue working in the same industry.
If they return in a few years as boomerang employees, those added skills and insights will be helpful to the company. If you end things on a positive note, former employees can provide a lot of high-quality referrals in the future, sending new customers to your business.