Employee offboarding process: Your complete guide ✅

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A common mistake made by many employers is putting a great deal of time and resources into an employee onboarding process, but often neglecting the offboarding process when the time comes for an employee to leave.

The right employee offboarding process is equally as important as the onboarding – allowing you to establish good lasting relationships with employees, gain honest and valuable feedback and mitigate any legal risks.

With many businesses having to make redundancies in the current period of huge financial uncertainty, it’s more important now than ever to make sure you’re giving your employees the best guidance and support as they leave your company.

If your business has made redundancies or is planning on, or you have employees resigning, we’ve put together our complete offboarding guide with an employee offboarding checklist and some of the offboarding best practices to follow, so you can efficiently manage an employee’s departure, stress-free.

To further help you support your employees who are facing redundancy; we’ve launched our Employee Outplacement Services.

Our experienced Head of People Operations will work alongside your employees to ensure they receive practical, tailored and independent advice to give them the confidence and motivation they need to tackle the job market.

What is an employee offboarding process?

Offboarding is the opposite of onboarding and crossboarding, it’s the process of transitioning employees out of a company smoothly, whether the employee leaves voluntarily or involuntarily.

Offboarding encompasses all the decisions and processes that take place when an employee leaves, to ensure that the individual is given the necessary resources and information and the company can successfully move forwards.

Looking to update your onboarding process as well as your offboarding practices?

Check out our step by step guide for how to onboard graduates.

 

Why is the employee offboarding process important?

Support your employees – departing and current

Whether it was a personal decision to leave or an employee is made redundant, leaving a job is tough and can have huge strains on an employee’s wellbeing. The offboarding process is a great way to provide your employees with resources and helpful information to support them throughout this period.

The right offboarding process will also have a positive impact on your current employees, showing that you genuinely care about your employees and you are giving departures the best chance of landing a new career.

 

Gain honest and beneficial feedback

The offboarding process is a great opportunity to gain useful information about your company and an insight into employee’s opinions.

When working for a company, employees will often keep opinions to themselves, however, when leaving they are often more open and willing to share their thoughts.

A good exit interview is a great way to ask insightful questions to an employee and gain their honest feedback to help improve your company.

 

Create advocates of the company

Negative reviews of a company from past employees, whether online or in-person can have a damaging effect on your company.

An Indeed survey revealed that 83% of job seekers are likely to base their decision on where to apply on company reviews, and 46% will weigh a company’s reputation heavily before accepting a job offer.

Negative employee reviews can put off potential applicants to roles within the company and it may also result in customers trusting your business less.

A strategic offboarding process in place will allow you to help departing employees leave with a more positive view of the company, reducing the risk of negative comments.

 

Gather everything you need from an employee before they depart

Employees who have chosen to leave a company or have been made redundant will most likely not want to be contacted after they have officially left being asked a question about their role or to carry out an admin task.

A well planned offboarding process will allow you to get all you need from an employee before they’ve left, whether it’s handing in equipment, signing paperwork or creating a handbook for future employee’s.

Employees departing is an inevitable part of your company’s life-cycle, however, if multiple employees are leaving your company after a short period of time, you might need to revise your employee retention strategies.

Check out our video below for some great tips on employee retention and how to optimise your employee progression plans:

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Employee offboarding checklist

Wondering how to successfully offboard employees? Here’s our 9 step employee offboarding checklist template…

1. Communicate the departure to the company quickly and respectfully

To put the departing employee at ease and to be transparent with the rest of your employees, it’s important to quickly let your team know that an employee is moving on.

Whilst there can be a temptation to hold off communicating the change, the longer you wait, rumours may start disrupting your workplace.

The most important people to inform first are the employee’s manager, direct team, along with HR, payroll and IT who can then begin their own offboarding processes.

Then be sure to let the rest of the company know and any clients they were primarily working with.

To make the employee feel comfortable, it’s best to inform the news to small groups of teams rather than a whole company announcement where the departing employee will be present.

You can communicate the departure in an email or with a quick announcement.

Whichever you choose, be sure to let everyone know the employee who is leaving, if appropriate mention why they’re moving on and be sure to wish the employee well.

If you already know who will be taking over their responsibilities be sure to also include this.

 

2. Send the offboarding email and relevant documents

The next important step is to organise your paperwork and send relevant documents to ensure an employee’s departure is official and logged.

Here are some of the important documents to send an employee:

  • P45 and final payslip. When an employee leaves you need to provide them with both a P45 and a final payslip. An employee will need to provide a new employer with their P45 to inform them of their tax code and a final payslip needs to be retained for the employee’s own records.
  • Nondisclosure and non-compete agreements. If applicable, it’s important to issue an employee an NDA which places a legal obligation on the employee to keep your confidential information secret after they leave the company.
  • Issue a letter explaining any banked employment benefits, such as pension savings or shares in the company.
  • If an employee has resigned, you will need to issue them a formal letter confirming their last day of service and accepting their resignation. In this letter clarify if there’s any untaken excess holiday entitlement, any company property owed, outstanding loans and any training fees that are recoverable.
  • If you’re making staff redundant you need to first follow the legal redundancy process, ACAS has useful guidance and includes all the factors to take into account. You then need to issue a formal letter of termination, confirming their last day of service and depending on their service you may need to issue redundancy pay – ACAS website has a useful employee redundancy pay calculator.

 

3. Transfer their knowledge efficiently

When an employee leaves, they take their skills, knowledge, and specialism in the role with them.

It’s important to harness this knowledge so it can be passed on to existing members of the team or a new employee taking over their role and they can successfully pick up where the employee left off.

To best make use of the time you have with the employee, it’s important to decide what needs to be achieved in the time frame you have left and make a plan of action for a handover and training.

Here are some useful steps to follow:

  • Ask the departing employee to create a document breaking down their role, from their daily routine, projects they repeat on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, any systems or files they use, regular contacts, existing projects, and what takes priority in their role. Organise for the employee to then go through this document with their manager so they can work together to create a plan of action and clearly assess what is important to have documented and other employees trained in.
  • When an employee leaves you need to decide who will be taking over their role. Will it be split up amongst current employees, will a current employee be promoted to this role or will a new hire be taking over this position? Once you have a clear assessment of who will be taking over the role you can then decide the best handover practice.
  • An important factor when asking an employee to create a handover document and to train a new employee is to make sure they have the time to ensure the knowledge transfer is achieved well. If a senior member of staff is leaving or niche and technical roles are being passed over, creating a guide and training someone in the role can take time. Make sure that an employee’s current work is reassigned to capable members of staff during their leave period to allow time for all training, documents, and processes to be carried out and passed on thoroughly. Once an employee leaves they will not appreciate being contacted about questions regarding their role, so it’s crucial to get the most from your employee whilst they are still working.

 

4. Assess if there’s a need to rehire

If an employee has been made redundant, it’s most likely due to there being a lack of work and the company cannot afford to keep that employee on, therefore there’s a small chance the company will need to rehire.

However, if an employee has resigned it’s important to think about who will be taking over their role.

Consider if a current employee can be promoted to this role or if there is a need to recruit new employees.

Getting the recruitment process underway will help if there isn’t the staff to temporarily cover the role, along with making the handover process easier if the departing employee and new hire are with the company at the same time.

If you’re looking to re-hire for a role, get in touch today and see how we can quickly and smoothly help you hire candidates who are the perfect match for your role and company.

Check out our latest blog post for the ways we can help you find top talent.

 

5. Carry out an exit interview

An important part of your exit management policy is to carry out an exit interview.

Holding an exit interview with the departing employee is a great way to gather feedback about the company and discover any unknown underlying issues.

Here are some good points to consider when holding an exit interview, along with some example questions to ask the employee:

  • It’s good practice to give the departing employee the choice between a face-to-face interview or a questionnaire. An employee shouldn’t be forced to participate in a face-to-face meeting if they don’t want to, and you may find through taking a questionnaire employees give more honest feedback.
  • If an employee is taking part in a face-to-face exit interview, consider who is the most appropriate person to hold the interview. For example, if an employee is leaving because there was friction between themselves and their manager, this isn’t going to be the best person. Choose an employee who the departing employee gets along well with and is likely to gain the most useful and insightful information from them.
  • If you’re working remotely, the offboarding process is still important. Be sure to organise an exit interview over video. If you’re running a business from home, visit our blog for advice on managing remote teams.

 

Example exit interview questions:

  • Is there any reason in particular that you are leaving the company?
  • What made you decide to start looking for a job?
  • What are your reasons for accepting the new position?
  • Was there anything that prevented you from carrying out your job effectively?
  • What could we have provided to mitigate those problems?
  • Do you feel like you were managed effectively?
  • What is the biggest thing, in your opinion, that we need to improve on as a company?
  • What do you think we are doing well? / What did you enjoy about working here?
  • How would you describe our corporate culture?
  • What could have been done for you to stay at the company?

 

Asking these questions may help uncover any underlying issue for the company, from problems with company culture to lack of management and views on employee training.

It’s also important to ask questions about any of the company’s positive aspects, to avoid the exit interview having a completely negative tone.

If an employee mentions they are leaving the company due to a higher salary or better benefits scheme at another company in a comparable role, ask if they are willing to share their new salary and benefits.

This will help you adjust your salary and benefit benchmark to meet other companies’ and prevent other employees from leaving for the same reason.

If you need help setting salaries for your roles, check out our employment statistics UK for an insight into the graduate recruitment industry and a breakdown of average starting salaries for a range of graduate roles.

 

6. Recover any company assets

For security and financial reasons, it’s important to recover any company assets from an employee before they leave.

Politely ask the employee to give in any company-issued devices such as phones, laptops, tablets, ID badges and keys.

It’s also important to close any corporate credit cards or expense accounts in that employee’s name and process any fees or reimbursements.

It may be useful to set up an offboarding software or spreadsheet, where you can easily log which items have been returned from an employee.

If an employee is leaving on bad terms with the company, it’s even more important to ensure you have recovered all important devices and that the employee cannot access the company building, for your own peace of mind and the safety of the company.

 

7. Revoke system access and benefits

As soon as an employee leaves it’s crucial that they are logged off and denied access to any systems to safeguard the company and its data.

Make sure that your IT department is notified by HR about an employee departing so they can complete their system offboarding checklists.

They will need to disable all network access, disable remote access and email accounts, and make sure shared and single passwords are changed.

Phone calls and emails should also be forwarded to the employee’s supervisor or the employee taking over their responsibilities.

As part of your payroll leaver actions, it’s important that departing employees’ access is removed from any schemes such as healthcare, and benefits and resolve any outstanding loans.

 

8. Thank an employee for their contributions

However long or short an employee is at a company, it’s nice to thank them for their contributions to the business and show your appreciation.

A nice idea is to organise a farewell card and gift for an employee, even though this is a small gesture it can mean a lot to a departing employee and how they view the company.

If a more long serving member of staff is leaving and if a company budget permits, organising leaving drinks or a leaving lunch is a nice way to have a proper farewell celebration, and to get the whole company together.

This is also a good way to keep up morale for the rest of the team, who may feel apprehensive and worried about an employee’s departure.

If an employee is leaving on bad terms with the company, leaving events will be less appropriate, but a card is still a nice gesture.

 

9. Support your employees

Being made redundant is tough and can have a huge toll on an employee’s mental and physical health.

It’s important to make sure your departing employees have the best chance of finding a new career and to support them in any way you can.

Here are a few ways you can support your employees:

  • Provide employees with references if asked. If appropriate, give an employee a well-written reference praising them for their work and highlighting their strengths. An employee may need a reference to continue with a job application so don’t delay in sending one across.
  • If an employee is confused about the redundancy process and what they are entitled to, make sure to find the time for a member of your HR team to sit down with them and talk over the process. We’ve put together a blog with advice on what to do when made redundant which is a useful resource to share with your employees.
  • Show you are there for employees and offer mental health support. For tips on how to best support your employee’s mental health, check out our guide to mental, physical and social wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Sign up to our Employee Outplacement Services. Our free service for companies we have placed graduates at will give your employees who have been made redundant tailored and insightful advice to help them best tackle a difficult job market.

 

Navigating an employee’s departure can be difficult, especially in the case of redundancies.

Follow our 9 step employee offboarding checklist to ensure you’ve followed the correct legal procedures, your employees get the support they need, and your company is ready to move on and progress.

Whether you have made redundancies already or if you are expecting to make further redundancies, Give A Grad A Go are here to help with our outplacement services to those individuals affected.

Enter your details below and a member of the team will be in touch:

 

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