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Talent Management

Your Go-To Guide for Employee Offboarding Success

  • December 8, 2023
  • Alan Gordon
  • Approx. Read Time: 10 Minutes

Properly offboarding employees is crucial to the success of a business. It can foster meaningful and beneficial relationships for both parties, minimize the risks of legal issues, and open avenues for improvement internally.  



Key Takeaways

  • A structured offboarding process is beneficial for both employers and employees. 
  • A positive offboarding process can build brand ambassadors. 
  • Improper offboarding can cause compliance and legal issues. 
  • Creating a structured offboarding process can provide a positive experience for everyone involved. 
  • Cisive’s HCM technology and background screening can help streamline the offboarding process. 

 

Table of Contents 

What Is Offboarding? 

Offboarding is the formal process of transitioning an employee who's terminating their employment with the company. In the same sense that the onboarding process can help new hires prepare for the next step and get answers to any questions, the offboarding process provides these same benefits to exiting employees. 

Unfortunately, some employers tend to put a lot of effort into creating a positive onboarding experience yet fail to put the same emphasis on offboarding employees. This lack of effort can be a costly mistake with long-term effects. 

 

Why Offboarding Is Crucial for Organizations 

A proper offboarding process is beneficial to both the employee and the employer. For the employee, it can help answer any questions they have about the termination process, such as when they will receive their last paycheck, how to access their 401(k) information, and how the continuation of health insurance benefits works.   

There are also several reasons why the offboarding process is crucial for employers, including: 

Former Employees as Brand Ambassadors 

Your employees, both current and former, can be your company’s best brand ambassadors. In fact, studies show that 76% of consumers trust content shared by an employee over information shared by the company itself. 

It’s important to keep in mind that just because an individual leaves the company doesn’t mean that they don’t still have a voice. How you handle the exit process can directly determine whether these former employees become detractors or brand ambassadors. 

Potential Boomerang Employees 

People leave companies for a number of reasons, such as higher salaries, better working conditions, or advancement opportunities. 

Some find out quickly that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and they’re soon searching for another job. If they were a good team member, you want that search to lead them right back to your company. 

Whether this happens or not may depend on how your organization handles the offboarding process. 

If the employee left your company feeling like a valued member of the team and the offboarding process was handled professionally, it’s likely that they’ll try to return to your company. 

On the other hand, if they felt like they didn’t matter or that you didn’t listen to their concerns, you may have a difficult time enticing them to come back.

Former Employees as Customers 

Once an employee turns in their resignation, there may not be a lot you can do to keep them from leaving. But, if you can’t retain them as an employee, you can still keep them as a customer. 

Taking steps to create a positive offboarding process can go a long way in transforming your former employees into long-term loyal customers. 

Preserving Organizational Knowledge 

Whether the terminating employee has been with your company for 6 months or 20 years, they likely have obtained a wealth of knowledge about the role during their tenure. Don’t let this person go without preserving this knowledge. 

For example, the employee may have additional details for various company contacts or taken over duties that weren’t part of the original role. Only through a structured offboarding process can you collect and preserve this vital information.   

Security Concerns 

The last thing you want to happen is for an employee to leave without turning in all the required materials, such as keys, laptops, and cell phones. Once the person leaves, it can be nearly impossible to collect this material, especially if there’s no written policy for returning these items. 

You also don’t want to forget to change all internal passwords to ensure the exiting employee no longer has access to internal information. Failing to do this can be a costly mistake that poses a potential security threat to your company. 

Compliance and Regulation 

When someone leaves the company, it’s critical to collect all required documents in accordance with governmental and industry-specific guidelines, such as a signed resignation letter and nondisclosure forms. Ensuring all these forms are completed before the employee’s last day of work can prevent compliance issues later. 

 

6 Common Offboarding Mistakes to Avoid 

Here's a look at several offboarding mistakes you want to avoid: 

  • Skipping the exit interview: Don’t miss the opportunity to gather valuable insights from your exiting employees before it’s too late. 

  • Missing out on knowledge transfer: Be sure to extract as much organizational knowledge from your employee before their last day on the job. This step allows you to transfer this knowledge to new team members. 

  • Neglecting paperwork and compliance: Compliance and legal issues pertaining to offboarding can be a costly mistake. 

  • Not using a structured offboarding checklist: You can avoid these compliance issues by creating an offboarding checklist. It’s important to make sure this checklist is complete prior to the employee’s last day. 

  • Overlooking remote offboarding processes: You can easily streamline the offboarding process by using remote technology. For example, exiting employees can complete online exit interviews. 

  • Lacking empathy during the process: Leaving a job can be a difficult process even for those who are voluntarily leaving. Keep this in mind when handling the offboarding process and be sure to show a level of empathy for their situation. 

A 10-Step Guide for Seamless Offboarding 

Creating a structured offboarding process can help you prevent the costly mistakes listed above and can allow you to benefit from the employee's departure. Below is a list of offboarding steps you can take to create an efficient process.  

  1. Thank the Departing Employee

    If it’s a voluntary resignation, it can be frustrating to lose a good employee, especially considering today’s tight labor market. But you can’t take it personally. 

    Instead, be sure to take the time to thank them for their time with the company. If they’re a good employee, you may even want to extend an invitation to come back to the company if things don’t work out at their new job. 

    Even in layoff scenarios or involuntary terminations, it is important to thank the employee for their efforts. 

  2. Recognize Their Contributions

    It’s a good idea to go even one step further and recognize the employee for any specific contributions they made to the company. For example, did they complete a project for the company, come up with an idea for improving workflow, or build a highly productive team? 

    This type of personalized recognition can build a positive offboarding experience and ensure they know the company values their work. If the employee is leaving under good circumstances, you can even write a letter of recommendation that the employee can use for future endeavors. 

  3. Communicate

    Communication is a key component of the offboarding process. 

    The exiting employee should know exactly what steps to follow when terminating employment with the company. For instance, they should know who to submit their resignation letter to and when if it’s a voluntary resignation.  If the employee is part of a broader off-boarding event, communicating with the population of affected employees is just as important as communicating individually, one on one, with each affected employee. 

    They should also know what steps they need to take prior to their last day on the job. For example, how and when should they turn in their equipment, and will there be an exit interview? 

    Finally, terminating employees should know exactly who to contact if they have any questions after their last day, such as questions regarding their 401(k) or health insurance. 

  4. Transfer Knowledge

    Always take the time to transfer as much knowledge from the exiting employee as possible. This often requires a face-to-face meeting or the completion of a detailed form. 

    Start by asking them to list all the tasks they’re responsible for on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You can then compare this list with your current job description to determine if adjustments are necessary. 

    Next, ask the employee if they use any informal documents and notes when making business decisions, handling day-to-day tasks, meeting with clients, or troubleshooting equipment issues. 

    If possible, you can even have this employee work with the new hire for a few days prior to leaving. This step allows the worker to directly pass knowledge to the person taking over the role.   

  5. Recover Company Assets

    Be sure to plan a specific time, date, and location for the employee to turn in all company assets, including parking passes, keys, phones, and laptops.  It the employee is not near a company facility, make arrangements for how this will be delivered. 

    Clearly communicate the purpose of this meeting with them and list all the required assets and equipment they need to return prior to termination. If there are any consequences for failure to return these assets, such as a deduction from their final paycheck, be sure to notify the employee in writing. 

  6. Revoke System Access

    It’s important that all necessary parties are notified when an employee leaves. 

    For example, you want to notify the IT department and security department so they can take the proper steps to revoke all system access. This can avoid any security issues in the future. 

  7. Conduct an Exit Interview

    Don’t fail to conduct exit interviews for all exiting employees. 

    These interviews can provide insights as to why the employee is leaving and identify problem areas within the organization. For instance, if multiple employees are leaving for higher salaries, you know that it might be time to review your compensation offerings. 

    While face-to-face interviews work well, it may be more convenient to conduct online interviews. 

  8. Update Organizational Charts

    Depending on the terminating employee’s level within the company, it may be time to update your organizational charts. 

    You may find a way to restructure the organization to avoid bringing in a new worker. Alternatively, modifying your organizational charts to better meet the current needs of the company can help you make better promotion and hiring decisions. 

  9. Handle Final Payment and Benefits

    It’s crucial to notify the HR department when an employee is leaving the company. 

    HR has numerous procedures they must follow when they offboard a staff member. For instance, they must complete all COBRA documents so that eligible employees can continue to maintain their health insurance. 

    You also need to notify the payroll department so they can take any required deductions from their final paycheck or include any additional payments, such as severance pay or unused leave. 

  10. Stay in Touch

    Don’t let your employee’s last day of work be the last communication they have with your organization. Instead, take steps to maintain a post-employment relationship.

    Think about what types of communication you can have with your former employees. For instance, if your company is opening a new branch or has new positions available, include these past employees on the email notification list. 

How Cisive Can Assist in the Offboarding Process 

Fortunately, managing the offboarding process doesn’t have to be difficult, at least not when you partner with Cisive. 

We offer numerous services and features to help with this process, including: 

Employment Reference Verifications for Former Employees 

If your company spends time and effort verifying the former employment information on any of your off-boarded employees, Cisive has a solution that can help with that too.  Single Check allows you to store your former employment records with Cisive so that other employers looking to verify that they really worked for your company no longer have to contact you and can instead go to a website that we host on your behalf.  

If your company already uses a third-party firm for this, there is a good chance that our fees will be substantially lower than what you are paying now.  You can read more about Single Check here. 

Background Screening 

When those holding senior positions within the company leave, it can be a challenging time. Oftentimes, organizations use this event to make changes within the company. 

To make sure your organization is making the right decisions during this time, it’s a good idea to run background checks on all relevant employees. These checks can make sure you’re putting the right people in the right roles and can prevent you from making a costly mistake. 

At Cisive, we handle everything from criminal background checks and motor vehicle checks to credit history reports. We even offer continuous criminal background monitoring. 

These services can prevent you from putting people in charge who may not meet company standards and assist with filling any open roles within the company. 

HCM Technology 

Cisive’s HCM technology tools, specifically Cisive Exchange, which features a Mobile Document app and Analytics Reporting, allow you to store all your important offboarding documents in one convenient location. This technology can assist with: 

  • Exit interviews 
  • Post-employment arrangements 
  • Resignation letters 
  • Termination documents 
  • Nondisclosure agreements 
  • Noncompete agreements 

Best of all, many of these forms connect with our user-friendly portal to ensure your terminating employees have access to the forms they need. 

Recommended Reading: Experience Our Completely Flexible Onboarding and Offboarding Solution 

 

Compliance 

Using Cisive technology to store all necessary documents can help you stay in compliance with all governmental and regulatory requirements. It can also help you with any legal disputes after termination, such as unemployment, noncompete, and Ban the Box issues. 

Create a Seamless Offboarding Experience 

As you can see, creating a structured offboarding process benefits both your organization and the exiting employee. Plus, it can help prevent any compliance issues and assist with any legal issues that may arise after termination. 

Cisive comprehensive HCM technology makes it easy for your HR team and managers to make sure the exiting employee completes and signs all required documents. The Mobile Document app can also store this information for future use, if necessary, and handle the exit interview process. 

Additionally, Cisive’s comprehensive background screening process provides the insights you need when filling these open roles or when updating your organizational charts. 

Learn more about Cisive powerful technology and how it can help your organization build an effective offboarding process. Speak to an expert today!

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