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Offboarding Employees: How to Execute Successfully

We all know onboarding to be the process a new hire goes through when starting at a company, but what about offboarding? Onboarding and offboarding mark the beginning and end of an employee’s time with a company. Offboarding is the chain of events that happen once a resignation, termination, or separation occurs between the employer and the employee.

A complete offboarding process includes transferring job responsibilities, handing in key fobs or deactivating digital access, and conducting exit interviews. And just as important as onboarding is to ensure a new employee’s success, offboarding is just as important, if not more important, in ensuring an employer’s success. When an employee leaves a company, they either are an advocate for it or an adversary to it. The goal for any employer in the offboarding process is to gain intel into the employee’s experience with the company and make sure they leave an advocate for the organization.

If you execute the offboarding process successfully, you uphold the organization’s reputation, maintain the company’s culture, and keep the door open, if applicable, for future opportunities.

So, how exactly do you successfully execute the offboarding process?

Communicate Departure to Team

There’s nothing worse than workplace gossip. Don’t leave others guessing if or why someone is leaving. Instead, contact HR, pull your team together, and share the news. If it makes sense, share why the person is moving on. Also, if known at the time, explain who will be taking on their responsibilities.

Transfer Employee’s Knowledge

All employees are hired for a reason, meaning they provided value to the organization during their time there. When someone leaves a company, their obligations don’t just go away. They need to be handled. Make sure the departing employee transfers their responsibilities to a successor, if applicable, or a current colleague. Daily tasks, meetings they attend, location of files, necessary contact information, and digital footprint should all be documented. This gives access to whoever needs this information after an employee leaves and avoids having to reach out to them post departure, which looks unprofessional and could be awkward.

Conduct Exit Interview

An exit interview provides a platform for the departing employee to share their experience. This gives the employer a golden opportunity to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of an organization. When appropriately executed, the exit interview is a great tool for retention purposes because it gives insight into how employees within a company are really doing and what changes should be made from a job satisfaction standpoint. Here are some examples of questions to ask during an exit interview to get the most out of it.

  • If you could change one thing about the organization, what would it be?
  • What did you like most about working here?
  • Do you feel like you had the resources you needed to do your job successfully?
  • How would you explain the culture of the company to someone outside of the organization?
  • What would make this a better place to work?
  • Would you ever consider working here again?
  • What risks do you see for the company moving forward?

Evaluate Feedback

Don’t waste the intel you gain from the offboarding process. Instead, evaluate the feedback and figure out how to improve the work environment. Along the way, as you give more exit interviews, look for trends. If certain feedback becomes repetitive, take that information, and prioritize it.

Have you ever been a part of the offboarding process? Whether it was you personally going through it or facilitating it, what is something you would recommend based on your experience? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out 7 Ways to Build a Diverse Team.