Guide to Offboarding Remote Employees Compliantly

guide-to-offboarding-remote-employees-compliantly

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Introduction

Due to the growing tech talent shortage and advances in remote working technology, more companies than ever are expanding their workforce globally to take advantage of the ability to hire the most talented employees regardless of location. Although the benefits of hiring an international remote team are vast, there are challenges associated with it as well.

If you're like most businesses, you probably recognize the importance of a smooth and comprehensive onboarding process. However, you may not have considered the importance of a seamless, effective offboarding process. Given that offboarding can occur under less than pleasant circumstances, it's understandable why you might want to get it over with as quickly as possible.

Regardless of whether your employee is leaving on good terms or not, implementing a smooth remote offboarding process will make parting ways easier for both of you.

Challenges in Offboarding Remote Employees

When you're working with an international team, you'll have additional hurdles to overcome when setting up your offboarding system. Other countries may have regulations regarding when and under what circumstances employees can be terminated. Your location may allow for you to dismiss an employee without cause, but your employee may be based in a country that requires a specific cause for dismissal.

Violating the labor laws of the country where your employee is based can leave you facing significant fines and penalties. Some countries may even forbid you from doing business there in the future. Understanding the labor laws of the countries you're hiring in is vital to your ability to expand internationally.

Another critical function that offboarding serves is protecting your intellectual property and data security. Ineffective offboarding procedures can leave you open to data breaches or IP theft. During the remote offboarding process, you should include steps to ensure that exiting employees or contractors don't retain access to sensitive information or company equipment.

A successful offboarding experience should be pleasant for everyone involved. Maintaining a respectful and courteous relationship with former employees can help your company in future talent acquisition efforts and enhance your brand reputation.

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Steps for Successful Remote Offboarding

Remote offboarding procedures should be put in place before they'll be needed. If you are frantically trying to offboard an employee in real time, you're more likely to make mistakes that could lead to non-compliance issues. Some things to consider when designing your offboarding system include:

The nature of the departure

The offboarding process will look different depending on why an employee is leaving. If an employee is retiring, there will be different considerations than if an employee is being terminated for poor performance. Layoffs will also be handled differently than resignations. Your system should include all steps involved in handling offboarding for each situation.

The employee's country of residence

International employment laws vary on regulations related to dismissing employees. Some countries allow you to dismiss employees for any reason at any time, while others require that you give them notice or severance pay. Before you dismiss an employee, make sure you understand the applicable labor laws related to separating from employees.

Organizational communication

An employee leaving will affect everyone in the organization. Keep everyone involved updated, but make sure to do it respectfully so the departing employee can continue to function as part of the team until they leave. Communicating with internal team members as well as clients about employees who are leaving will help prevent unexpected delays and decreased productivity.

Plans for replacement or restructuring

If you're going to replace the employee who's leaving, you'll need to make plans to recruit and hire new talent. You may want to include time for the exiting employee to train your new hire. If you anticipate it taking a significant amount of time to find a replacement, you may need to do some temporary restructuring so the employee's job responsibilities will be covered while you're looking.

This can be a good time to analyze the current makeup of your team and identify any skill gaps you need to cover with new talent. Take the opportunity to determine exactly what skills and talents will best benefit your team, rather than just automatically hiring a replacement.

Paperwork and reporting requirements

Include all paperwork that needs to be collected, including forms such as tax documents, outstanding receipts, forms related to benefits, unused vacation time, nondisclosure agreements, and more. Make sure you also have all documentation related to country-specific reporting laws. Working with a global HR partner such as Skuad can make this process more efficient by providing a centralized platform.

Intellectual property and data security protections

Part of your remote offboarding procedure should be removing access to sensitive data and protected information. The employee should be removed from accounts, and passwords should be changed and updated. They should return any company equipment and supplies, such as mobile phones, tablets, computers, corporate credit cards, ID badges, and keys. Your cybersecurity team should be kept up to date regarding the employee's last day so that they can update their databases as well.

Exit interviews

With the Great Resignation still going strong, people are leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons. Understanding why an employee is leaving can help you keep your best employees and attract more. A good exit interview can help uncover sticking points and problems in your organization so you can address them.

Conducting exit interviews with all employees who have decided to leave your company will provide valuable data that your management team can use to improve the experience of your current team and make it easier for you to hire new talent.

Some of the best practices for exit interviews include:

  • Wait until the employee's last day or shortly thereafter to conduct the exit interview.
  • Provide a list of topics you plan to ask about ahead of time.
  • Keep the environment relaxed and casual, preferably somewhere away from work.
  • Make it clear that you want their honest opinions and this is an opportunity for you to learn from them.
  • Limit the interviewer to one person who's at least one step higher than the employee's direct supervisor.
  • Listen more than you talk, and don't be defensive.
  • Share the results of the exit interview across your organization and make changes if needed.

Mark the occasion

It's always a good idea to plan some sort of farewell for an employee who's leaving instead of simply letting them fade away. Not only will this make the departing worker feel valued, but it will also communicate to employees who are staying that you value all of them. It can be difficult to plan a goodbye party for a remote employee, but it's worth the effort. Whether you're planning an online or in-person farewell, give everyone a chance to say goodbye and publicly wish them well in their future endeavors.

Things To Keep in Mind

Aim to keep the entire exit process cordial and pleasant. View your departing employee as a valuable contact you may want to connect with in the future. Networks are becoming more connected and durable, so maintaining good relationships is vital.

Keep things positive

Some ways you can keep the relationship positive include:

  • Offering to write a referral or connect the employee with your network
  • Showing your appreciation for the employee's contributions through a gesture such as a handwritten note or a small parting gift

Refine and improve

For most companies, the shift to remote work, including remote offboarding, is a fairly new process. Refining your system will take time and effort. Document what works and what doesn't, and incorporate feedback from your employees so you can make your system more effective and efficient.

Include all relevant departments

In addition to the department the employee works in directly, you'll likely need input from your HR and cybersecurity teams. When you're remote offboarding international team members, you may also need input from labor and tax law experts. A global HR partner like Skuad can simplify the offboarding process by making sure you have all your bases covered and aren't at risk of violating any foreign regulations.

Conclusion

Offboarding an employee or contractor isn't always a happy occasion, but by implementing a well-planned separation process, you can make it as positive as possible and use it as a growth opportunity for your team. In addition to simplifying the offboarding process, Skuad's comprehensive platform can help with all aspects of hiring and retaining top talent from anywhere in the world. With one platform, you can:

Hire remote talent

Remote work is here to stay.  Expanding beyond your local boundaries will allow you to find top-notch talent regardless of your physical location.

Automate your processes

With Skuad, you can automate your onboarding and offboarding systems. You can keep all your employee documentation in one place, send localized agreements, issue work devices, and set up new software no matter where your employees are located.

Handle global payroll accurately and on time

Having a distributed team can be a complex hassle when it comes to managing payroll. Skuad lets you pay your employees quickly and easily in the currency of their choice.

Comply with local regulations

Skuad's team of labor and tax law experts makes sure you're in compliance with all local regulations. You can focus on growing your business while we handle the tedious administrative tasks related to managing global teams. Reach out today for a demo of Skuad's platform.

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