Most people are familiar with the term employee onboarding and the processes that it usually involves. Many People teams put endless resources into optimizing their onboarding processes to make the new hire experience as seamless as possible.
But what about offboarding?
Employee offboarding refers to the processes used when an employee leaves the company, whether due to resignation, termination, or retirement. This includes all the choices and steps that take place when the employee departs, including:
- Transferring knowledge and handing over job responsibilities
- Reclaiming any hardware or company-owned property
- Removing software and taking away account access that will no longer be granted
- Conducting exit interviews and gathering feedback
Overall, employee offboarding ties up any loose ends before the employee leaves. Compared to other employee touchpoints like onboarding, the offboarding process often gets very little attention – but neglecting offboarding is a big mistake.
Why a smooth offboarding matters
It’s obvious why onboarding matters: Organizations want to create the best experience possible for new hires to set them up for success and improve retention. But a smooth offboarding process matters, too. Here’s why:
- End on good terms – The saying “Don’t burn bridges” is applicable here, too. Ideally, smooth offboarding procedures will leave ex-employees to have better associations with the company. Leavers might even turn into employer brand ambassadors – or return in the future.
- Ensure security – The company doesn’t want to risk customer data leaks or other breaches of security, and solid offboarding processes will mitigate these threats.
- Ease the transition – There will always be difficulties when an employee leaves. A robust offboarding process ensures proper knowledge transfer, sets up role succession, and makes life easier for teams like HR, IT, and leadership.
- Employee confidence – Offboarding doesn’t only affect the employees who leave. The employees who stay will see how offboarding is handled. That can color their views of the organization.
- Ensure compliance – Depending on the country of operation, industry, and organization type, there will likely be compliance issues to take into account. Show customers (and employees) how serious the business takes security by ensuring proper compliance with every regulation.
How to create an offboarding workflow [checklist]
We’ve shown why offboarding processes are crucial to have in place – now what should be included in the workflow? Here’s an offboarding checklist to keep everything organized:
- Inform employee about next steps and important dates
- Set expectations for handover and knowledge transfer
- Sort out succession and inform talent acquisition team if a replacement is needed
- Inform Payroll team about employee departure
- Conduct exit interview
- Notify team members (in consultation with relevant stakeholders)
- Recover work equipment
- Delete user accounts / revoke access to systems
- Remove employee from benefit programs (e.g., insurance, gym allowance, public transportation pass, etc.)
- Issue final paycheck
- Goodbye message to employee
- Maintain employee records in accordance with legal requirements
- Update company directory
In addition to these basic steps, it’s important to check what’s legally required or commonly expected in the countries where the organization has employees. Have team leads review all signed documentation regarding the departure, and ensure compliance with local and national regulations.
As seen above, there are a significant number of steps involved in designing an offboarding workflow. Without automating at least some of the steps, it’s likely some tasks will fall through the cracks.
How to approach employee offboarding automation
Tackling HR processes manually can negatively impact a business. According to a Harris Poll & CareerBuilder study, HR managers who do not fully automate say manual processes have led to:
- Lower productivity: 41%
- More errors: 40%
- Higher costs: 35%
- Poor candidate experience: 18%
- Poor employee experience: 17%
- Less engagement: 17%
- Poor hiring manager experience: 11%
Knowing this, People teams should work to automate processes across the employee experience. To automate offboarding, remember that the experience should feel personal and human – so don’t focus on spending less time with leavers.
Automation helps organizations shift focus from transactional to relationship-based offboarding, ensuring all important steps and conversations are happening. Some steps can be fully automated, while others will require approval from a person. Putting the entire offboarding process on autopilot is not the goal; rather, teams should create a process that covers all the essential steps, while automating the most transactional and tedious tasks.
How Back automates offboarding
Saying goodbye is already hard enough. Back helps teams ensure an easy transition by automating the admin side of offboarding.
- Automate offboarding tasks – Back automates offboarding steps to create a frictionless experience while ensuring compliance and minimizing errors.
- Track offboarding tasks across teams – Empower colleagues to collaborate, stay on schedule, and reduce stress by organizing offboarding tasks as projects across teams.
- Seamless stakeholder communication – Work on all your conversations and requests in one place. Managers and other stakeholders can even use their preferred channel.
If your organization would like to automate offboarding (and other People processes), we’d be happy to show you around Back.