When an employee leaves a company, it's important that they do so in a way that is respectful to both the departing employee and the company. This process is known as "offboarding." An offboarding procedure ensures that all final paperwork is completed, any company property is returned, and any access to company systems is terminated. This can seem like a lot of work, but it's important to protect your company's interests.
Why You Need an Offboarding Procedure
An offboarding procedure serves several purposes. Generally speaking, an offboarding procedure protects your company's proprietary information, allows you to recover any company property that the employee may have, and ensures that all final paperwork is completed in a timely manner. But there are other, less obvious, reasons an offboarding procedure is important.
An Offboarding Procedure Helps Ensure a Smooth Transition
When an employee leaves a company—whether they're being let go or quitting—it's important to have a process in place to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible. This is especially true if the employee is in a position of authority or has knowledge of sensitive company information. An offboarding procedure helps to ensure that all loose ends are tied up and that there is a clear plan for moving forward.
Related Content: Temporary layoff letter template
An Offboarding Procedure Protects Your Company's Reputation
When an employee leaves a company on bad terms—whether they were fired or quit in a huff—it can reflect badly on the company. Having an offboarding procedure in place helps to protect your company's reputation by ensuring that departing employees are dealt with in a professional manner. This can help to prevent bad word-of-mouth and negative online reviews.
An Offboarding Procedure Makes Future Hiring Easier
Once an employee has been let go, it's important to update your records accordingly. This can include removing them from your company website and updating your HR software. An offboarding procedure helps to make sure that these steps are taken care of in a timely and efficient manner. This can save you time and hassle when you're hiring new employees down the road.
Creating an Offboarding Procedure
The first step in creating an offboarding procedure is to decide who will be responsible for overseeing the process. This should be someone in HR or upper management.
Next, you'll need to create a checklist of all the things that need to be done when an employee leaves. This might include items like collecting their keys and returning their laptop.
Finally, you'll need to communicate the offboarding procedure to your employees. Make sure they know who to contact when they're ready to leave and what steps they need to follow.
Related Content: Demotion letter template
What an Offboarding Procedure Should Include
While every company's offboarding procedure will be slightly different, there are some general guidelines that all businesses should follow. Here are some of the most important things that should be included in an offboarding procedure:
Terminate access to company resources. When an employee leaves, they should no longer have access to any company resources, including email accounts, servers, and social media accounts. If possible, these steps should be taken before the employee's last day so that there's no risk of data breaches or other security issues.
Transfer projects to other employees. It's important to make sure that all of the departing employee's projects are transferred to other employees before they leave. This ensures that there are no major disruptions in workflow and that all deadlines are still met.
Collect company property. Any company property that the departing employee has in their possession should be collected before they leave. This includes laptops, tablets, smartphones, ID badges, keys, credit cards, and any other items that belong to the company.
Conduct an exit interview. An exit interview allows the employer to collect feedback from the departing employee about their experience with the company. This feedback can be invaluable in identifying areas where the company can improve its policies or procedures. The exit interview should be conducted by someone who is not the departing employee's direct manager, as this will allow them to feel more comfortable being candid.
Complete all necessary paperwork. There will likely be a fair amount of paperwork involved when an employee leaves your company. Be sure to have a checklist of all required forms and documents so nothing gets forgotten in the shuffle.
Offer continued support (if appropriate). In some cases, it may make sense to offer continued support to an employee after they leave your company (e.g., if they are relocating for a new job). If this is something you decide to do, be sure to outline what type of support will be provided and for how long.
Update your records. Once everything has been taken care of, don't forget to update your records accordingly (e.g., change the status of the employee in your HR system). This will help ensure a smooth transition going forward.
An offboarding procedure is a crucial part of employee turnover management. By having a well-defined offboarding procedure in place, employers can ensure that all company resources are secured, projects are properly transferred, and company property is recovered. Ultimately, this makes for a smoother transition for both the departing employee and the remaining staff.