Although often overlooked, offboarding employees is just as important as onboarding. Unfortunately, many employers do only the bare minimum with departing employees. Cold professionalism may avoid conflict, but could leave others feeling unappreciated and disillusioned.
Offboarding is more than just “going through the motions.” Don’t waste this valuable opportunity to gain insight into your workforce, potential problems, and opportunities to improve. When you’re offboarding workers, make sure to cover all your bases:
Leave a positive impression with departing employees
Review sites like Glassdoor can allow former employees to air their grievances in public, making it harder to fill openings. It is in your company’s best interest for former employees to feel like their hard work and insight was appreciated. Former employees are like brand ambassadors for your company. Their positive or negative views can affect your reputation in the community.
Whether terminated or quitting on their own terms, encourage employees to voice their concerns with HR and management. It is in your company’s best interest for former employees to feel like their hard work and insight was appreciated.
Complete the HR process and offboarding paperwork
There’s a whole checklist of paperwork issues to resolve with offboarding.
- You’ll need to confirm the date of their last paycheck and expiring benefits.
- Departing employees may have specific questions about COBRA coverage rates and other options.
- Explain 401(k) savings and retirement rollover options.
- Review NDA’s and non-compete paperwork to ensure the boundaries around proprietary data and client information.
Really LISTEN to departing employees
When conducting exit interviews, frame the, as opportunities to make a real difference at the company. It’s hard to get honest, consequence-free feedback from current employees. Employees on their way out offer noticeably more candor. The exit interview provides a rare glimpse into the real frustrations and priorities of workers.
HR and management can also provide encouragement and honest feedback to workers. You may be able to point out strengths and areas of improvement that they may not have noticed in themselves. Positive interactions will affect the way they remember and talk about your company.
Manage risks to your company
Exit interviews are a great time for candid communication, and you may uncover bigger issues that need mitigation. Over the course of their employment, workers may have witnessed or perceived instances of abuse, harassment, or discrimination. They might not have felt free to report those issues, especially if managers were involved.
Be proactive about acting on credible allegations. Make sure the employee is not being terminated unfairly. Stay legally compliant and follow procedures when offboarding employees, even while you encourage candid communication.
On the practical side, you’ll also need workers to return access badges and any company assets. If you’ve issued our computers, phones, or other hardware, then you may need to work with employees to help them return equipment. Former employees will also have their access revoked for company software, social media, and other company-connected applications.
Follow company procedures
HR should develop detailed universal guidelines for how to manage staff departures. Overall, clear communication should make the transition as simple as possible.
- Inform team members as appropriate. Sudden and unexpected disappearances can prompt rumors and speculation, creating avoidable workplace drama.
- Set up email forwards and redirects in advance to ensure client emails and tasks aren’t left unresolved.
- Make sure everyone understands which employees will cover the tasks and responsibilities of the departing worker.
Offboarding may be your last official contact with ex-employees, but it can influence the way they remember your company. Offboarding also provides time for management and others to express their gratitude for years of hard work.
You can also make an effort to maintain those ties, especially with skilled individuals who continue to work in the same industry. Check in with them in six months or a year. You may discover their interest in returning.
Boomerang employees (those who come back to your company again in the future) can be more efficient because they require less training and already understand your company procedures. They can bring new skills and new insights they learned while away from your company.