5 Best Practices for Smooth Employee Offboarding Process

• Employee Offboarding

Employee offboarding is the worst part of HR’s responsibilities. Be it a voluntary resignation or an involuntary departure like a layoff, employee offboarding is often tedious and cumbersome. 

Some employees will decide to part ways with you no matter what your organization does, so instead of trying to lock down doors and fire exits until employees give up, businesses need to make the most of the chance and use it to collect some helpful information. 

A smoother employee offboarding process will generate insights to prevent churn, negative buzz, and who knows even score a win-back. By incorporating some industry-wide employee offboarding best practices and automating the offboarding process from start to finish, businesses can offer their employees the gift of graceful exits. 

Best practices to gracefully offboard an employee

Instead of boarding up the windows or calling a cab when an employee wants to quit, organizations need to take the time to understand the reason behind their decision, offer potential solutions, and provide help however they need it. 

Here are some employee offboarding best practices that can be incorporated into your employee exit management process to offer employees the gift of graceful exits. 

1. Understand the nature of the exit

Offboarding comes with its fair share of complications. You can’t use the same process to offboard every departing employee. The policies and procedures involved in offboarding differ with their types (resignation, layoff, retirement, contractual).

Maybe the employee wasn’t a long-term fit for your company culture, perhaps they came across a career-changing opportunity, or in some cases, they couldn’t handle growth gracefully. Whatever the reason, organizations need to first understand the reason why an employee wants to leave and have a clear plan in place to handle each type of exit. 

How can employee offboarding automation help?

While manual employee offboarding will be challenging, an HR automation tool that comes with dynamic workflows that will change the offboarding process to meet the specific type of employee exit. 

As opposed to rigid offboarding checklists, dynamic HR workflows will adapt to meet the needs of various factors involved in an employee offboarding process like department, experience, job status, location, and more. 

2. Offer a memorable offboarding

The most crucial aspect of a good employee offboarding process is to treat employees warmly, regardless of the reason behind their departure. Celebrate their achievements and make them feel appreciated for their efforts. Who knows? All this love can make your employees return to the organization like a boomerang.

Additionally, a memorable farewell will make employees speak positively about their experience and this will, in turn, increase your brand value as an employer. Keeping in touch with departing employees and forming an alumni network will help during talent acquisition and brand reputation management.

How can employee offboarding automation help?

With automation, HR leaders can create and manage a talent pool of departing employees who express the desire to come back someday. This talent pool of past employees, if nurtured properly, can turn into a powerful source of engaged candidates who can shorten the hiring cycle and reduce the recruitment efforts considerably. 

3. Retrieve insights

Although employees want to leave, it can be used as a valuable opportunity to collect churnover data. Departing employees can often offer honest feedback about the organization since they are no longer dependent on it for their livelihood. 

A simple employee exit management program conducted as a part of the offboarding process can unveil the reasons behind employee attrition. If an increasing segment of employees cites the same reason for quitting an organization, the management may have to address the issue pronto to stop further churn.

How can employee offboarding automation help?

An automated exit interview survey delivered to the departing employee once they express their desire to leave can help organizations uncover areas of opportunities that need to be resolved to keep employees engaged and motivated to their job.

4. Ensure compliance

An improper employee offboarding process can pose a huge security risk to the organization. Imagine that a departed employee retained access to their account even after leaving the company. Can you trust them to do the right thing even after leaving the organization?

One look at the sensitive information (about the organization, employees, and customer) involved, will show that the risk of data theft can never be taken lightly. This is why it is important to abide by legal compliance standards. 

How can employee offboarding automation help?

An automated exit or termination template can enforce regulatory compliance while ensuring that no employee offboarding task falls through the cracks. 
employee offboarding insights

5. Protect your assets

Standing on the receiving end of vengeance is not sweet. How far will a vengeful employee go? Let’s assume that an employee was fired in a massive layoff or he/she quit your organization due to a workplace conflict. How far will employees go to extract their revenge?

It can end on a simple note with a nasty Glassdoor review. But what happens when an employee has a far more involved plan? During their tenure employees have access to a lot of confidential data. What if an employee decides to wreak havoc with it? It could be a corporate catastrophe.

How can employee offboarding automation help?

Rather than opting to clean the mess of reputation damage, organizations need to take measures to reduce the risk of compliance breaches by automating the retrieval of physical assets, streamlining the process of access revokal, holding stakeholders accountable to execute a specific step in the offboarding process like wiping out sensitive data and more. 

6. Prevent productivity drops

When an employee leaves, day-to-day activities handled by him/her will be interrupted. As a result, there will be a considerable drop in productivity. But, once an employee leaves, you cannot expect them to be available for any support in the future.

It is vital to prevent potential productivity stalls by requesting departing employees to properly document project responsibilities, transfer process knowledge, and various ownerships of resources.

How can employee offboarding automation help?

An automated offboarding workflow can loop in one or more stakeholders on delegated tasks. To make the most of knowledge transfer efforts, businesses can set up an automated check-in on a daily basis and follow up with everyone involved to keep the process moving. 

7. Keep the door open

While an employee’s departure may be inevitable, rather than drawing out the process or making things hard for them on the last day of work, showcase your appreciation with respectful offboarding. 

Instead of treating a departing employee like an unruly child, take the time to listen to their future plan, and close the relationship on a positive note. If you haven’t, extend an offer to vouch for them or act as a reference for their conduct. 

How can employee offboarding automation help?

Depending on the reason for their departure and insights collected from exit interviews, organizations can re-nurture old employees back into their fold with targeted campaigns that address employee concerns and scale their win-back strategies without sacrificing relevance.

Make employee offboarding a priority, not an afterthought

The complexities involved in offboarding make bidding goodbye to employees a taxing affair. One wrong move can ruin your organization’s reputation and take years to repair the backlashes. Consistency is the key to success. However, manual employee offboarding process doesn’t offer a consistent experience.

With the right technology tools, organizations can standardize the complexities involved in employee offboarding and help you part ways, the right way. Automating the offboarding workflow, exit checklists, and employee exit surveys will not only take some stress out of the process but also make it more efficient and reliable.

Before you embark on your search to find the right offboarding tool that will help you implement these best practices, ask yourselves these questions, and understand must-have features that an ideal employee offboarding tool needs to have.