Like every drop of water forms an ocean, it’s the combined effort of all employees that forms an organization and drives its success. And that is why at every touchpoint with an employee, fostering a positive culture is essential, from creating a worthwhile candidate experience at the interview to a welcoming onboarding. From a constructive tenure to a pleasant offboarding experience, every touchpoint with every employee ultimately contributes to organizational culture.
While many HR and management teams focus on the first three touchpoints, it’s the offboarding phase that is often taken lightly. After all, no organization wants to let go of a gem!
But it’s part and parcel of life to move on. So how can you ensure that your employees leave with a smile, pleasant takeaway experiences and recommend others to apply for a job at the organization?
We have broken down the offboarding process for you that will help you offer your employees smoother and graceful exits.
What does offboarding mean?
Simply put, it is the opposite of onboarding! It is the process of an employee exiting the current organization. It is the last stage in the employee lifecycle. Reasons could range from voluntary resignation to a layoff/termination. The offboarding process begins once both parties, the employer and the employee, have made a final decision of parting ways. The process includes tasks like transferring the roles and responsibilities of the employee to others, collecting files and equipment, deactivating access to portals, clearing off paperwork, etc.
Why is offboarding important?
Offboarding is crucial for legal and security reasons. It is this phase wherein you must reclaim all company assets the employee had ownership of. An organized offboarding allows for hassle-free transfer of knowledge and responsibilities among the team so that operations are not put on hold.
Also, an organization grows through connections and networking. A pleasant offboarding experience will ultimately contribute to your organization’s employer brand. It’s one thing when a current employee talks highly of you on their social channel and another, probably more appealing, when an ex-employee advocates for you.
Indeed, such a lasting impact is not attained just by a successful offboarding process, but overall respect and exposure the employee gets throughout their time under your shadow. Offboarding, nonetheless, acts as the final move that can strengthen this bond and help reinforce your organization’s values.
Thus, establishing a healthy relationship with existing employees helps form a network that can greatly help talent acquisition and your employer brand.
Best practices for a seamless offboarding experience
The exit of an employee involves more than throwing a farewell. For a graceful and smooth departure, follow these set of practices –
• Understand the nature of the exit
While it is important to have a defined offboarding process in place, you might need to modify a few steps or handle the process depending on the kind of exit the employee makes. For instance, matters related to layoffs will be handled differently from resignation or retirement. A case could be that the employee’s contract has been completed. Nonetheless, make sure you end on a good note by celebrating their achievements and acknowledging their time with you.
Note: You may offer to help the employee with a reference.
• Keep everyone in the loop
Break the news to other team members in a dignified way such that the employee exiting can leave with respect. It also gives the appropriate time for others to prepare themselves to take up more tasks or to welcome a new member. This also prevents sudden falls in productivity or increased workload on the team. The most important communication would be with external clients (if any). The employers must inform them of any replacements, delays, etc.
A final communication would be with the exiting employee. This is what is commonly called an ‘exit interview.’ It is a great way to give and receive honest and valuable feedback, amend any past confusion, establish trust, and build a lasting relationship. The exit interview must be taken by the manager and can additionally be taken by HR as well.
• Check all documents (to be received and provided)
Just like you make a checklist when going on a vacation, a list of all essential documents and assets must be made so that nothing is missed out. This checklist must have paperwork like NDAs, Tax Documents, LOR, etc. Another thing to cross-check is any outstanding reimbursements, bonuses, paid time off, or compensation of any kind.
Simultaneously, you must withdraw access and passwords from company and client accounts and wipe sensitive data. Collection of physical assets like laptops, mobile phones, keys, company credit cards, ID, etc., comes next.
• Determine the new workflow
After deciding on a mutually agreeable notice period, you will have to ponder upon a few questions to reorganize the workflow. You must figure out the replacement, redistribution, and reallocation of work. You must decide if a new hire is required. If yes, who would be training the person? Are there any skill gaps or pitfalls to be addressed? Would there be a delay in delivery and ways to combat it?
• Plan a farewell
Whether it is a senior position employee or a junior, you must bid farewell in a respectful and celebratory manner. It doesn’t matter what your budget is or whether you are holding it offline or online. It’s an expression of heartfelt appreciation and gratitude and must be delivered to achieve that, along with best wishes for the employee’s future endeavors.
In the end, you must remember the goal of offboarding is to make the goodbye easier on the employee and foster the relationship that you had established.
There are many tools available online to handle many automated tasks that reduce manual work. You can use them for a seamless offboarding experience.