The Ultimate Employee Offboarding Guide

You spend many many hours, energy, and money trying to find the right person to hire. And then you also spend a ton of resources on that employee’s onboarding.

When it comes employee offboarding however, you don’t really worry as much.

The employee offboarding process isn’t just about leaving your outgoing employee feeling good – it also ensures that his or her departure causes minimal disruption.

After all, you don’t want to end up running around trying to work out where the keys are, just how Mary did her job, or what happened to Johnny’s company-issued cell phone!

You might be wondering:

You will probably never see them again. Why should you use up your company’s resources to facilitate someone’s exit process?

Well, here are the top four reasons:

First, you want to be careful and capture the precise value your employee was adding to the company to add to a smoother knowledge transfer process when they leave.

Second, you want them to be as helpful as possible during that process.

Third, you want to maintain a good relationship with them in case there is an opportunity for a working relationship in the future

And fourth, you want to keep a good reputation as an employer in the industry.

Bottom line:

You need to pay more attention to how you’re letting people go.

There’s a lot more to parting with a team member than simply saying goodbye. Our step-by-step employee offboarding guide will help you craft a comprehensive offboarding process that covers most, if not all, eventualities

The Employee Offboarding Process [w/ Flowchart & Checklist]

There are three main ways an employee can leave your company:

  1. At their own will – through resignation or after a contractual period is over
  2. Because of a layoff or firing – you decide to not have them around anymore
  3. It’s time for them to retire – this can happen at any point they decide to do so.

Whichever way an employee offboards, the process you must go through is pretty much the same.

employee off boarding process flowchart

Before the Employee Departure

Receive/Give Out the Notice of Leave/Layoff

First, there should be a notice of leave or layoff in accordance with the contract that you and the employee have signed at the beginning of their employment period.

This period is usually two weeks notice, but it may vary from contract to contract.

Best case scenario:

In case of an offboard resignation, the general best practice is to get the employee to tell you at least one or two months in advance so that your HR team has the proper time to find a replacement.

Complete the Paperwork

Second, the moment the employee notifies you or you notify them of their offboarding, all proper paperwork must start to be completed.

The paperwork generally includes:

Other legal matters related to employee offboarding include the roll-over pay and the discussion of tax & liability matters.

Document all Employee Responsibilities

Third, you must ask the employee to start documenting all the responsibilities and duties they were in charge of to see how much of the employee’s knowledge is transferrable before the official offboarding.

This includes all processes, projects, documents, or clients they were responsible for.

Don’t ask them to create reports or briefs as a form of documentation.

You might think it will help to facilitate a smoother transition of responsibility after they are gone, but they don’t want to write it, the next employee doesn’t want to read it. It’s overall a waste of time.

Instead, encourage less-experienced employees to watch the departing employee work or ask him/her to share some memorable experience on how he handled problems in the past.

Communicate the Offboarding

Fourth, if the employee decides to leave on his/her own will, send out an email to all employees in the team to notify them of their colleagues’ departure.

Include kind word and wish him/her the best.

If you decided to let someone go, don’t send a mass e-mail since this might be a source of embarrassment or produce negative feelings.

Instead, only talk to key managers or persons who might be affected by the offboarding of the employee.

Don’t forget:

Notify HR to start looking for another person for the job – be it an existing employee or someone that will be hired externally.

The Day of Employee Offboarding

Retrieve Everything

employee offboarding retrieval checklist

On the day of the employee exit, first make sure you retrieve all relevant hardware, software, contact details, and credentials.

You don’t want any sort of compliance risk, no matter how friendly the offboarding might be.

Below is a detailed check-list for what you should be looking for.

Physical Assets:
  • Keys
  • Access cards
  • Work cell-phone
  • Work laptop
  • Physical folders & files
  • Work pager
  • Clean up personal devices

Non-physical Assets:
  • Internal software credentials
  • Shared workflow platform credentials
  • All company-related credentials
  • All client contacts

Note: This may vary from company to company, but take whatever seems fit.

Conduct an Exit Interview

Second, you must conduct an exit interview.

Exit interviews are sometimes looked upon as hogwash, despite being conducted by 91% of businesses.

What is said and how they’re conducted are basically a formality.

But it doesn’t have to be that way:

You can find value in exit interviews by really listening to the employee on how things are going.

They don’t have the pressure to conform or not be honest anymore, so it is usually the case that they are being truthful, and other employees might have similar experiences.

Make exit interviews an opportunity for the employee to remember all his/her contributions and achievements within the company by asking about them.

Have a general structure for all interviews, but don’t hesitate to turn it into a conversation and end your relationship in a positive note.

Throw an Offboarding Celebration

If the employee is leaving on their own accord or is retiring, you should be happy for them.

Go the extra mile and give him/her a parting gift.

Get the team together for a work lunch, a happy hour, or throw a party.

Who doesn’t like cake and wine anyway?

After the Employee Leaves

Once you have parted ways with the employee, make sure to delete him/her from the current system of employees and wipe clean their work devices.

Clean up their desk and personal space.

Get ready for someone else to fill up his/her spot, physically and psychologically.

Employee Offboarding Best Practices

There are different best practices at play depending on the nature of the employee offboarding.

Best Practices When the Employee Resigns

If you already have good relations with current employees, keeping a positive attitude if they decide to part becomes much easier.

In any case, don’t take the decision of the employee leaving personally.

It goes without saying you should be courteous, respectful, and fair when parting. Keep it professional and kind.

Leaving is the employee’s personal decision and is not meant to hurt or reflect upon you or your abilities (unless the employee explicitly says so).

Try to stay in touch with them after they part through your company’s alumni network group and encourage them to remain supporters of the company.

Here’s the kicker:

You never know what sort of feedback you might receive or what the future holds. What’s important is the offboarding process is positive and doesn’t add unneeded stress. It’s better to have a friend than a foe.

Best Practices When the Employee Retires

All the tips we gave you when the employee resigns also apply when the employee retires.

But there are also four additional best practices to make the departure of a retiring employee as pleasant as possible:

First, double-check the employee passion schemes rules to make sure you are in compliance with everything.

Second, calculate the final retirement payment for your employee with the help of the accounting and HR team to see what he/she is entitled to.

Third, provide a helping hand by gradually, over the course of two weeks (or more, depending on the notice) reduce the working hours for the employee until his/her retirement day.

And last but not least:

Don’t forget to throw them a retirement party and give them a retirement gift.

They’ve probably been with you for a long ride and deserve to be honored and recognized.

Once, my boss at a large company wasn’t able to attend an employee’s retirement party because he had an important meeting to go to.

An hour later, she was tagging him in hateful paragraphs on Facebook about “not being appreciated” while dragging the company’s name through the mud.


So when we say the retirement party is important, we mean it!

Best Practices When Firing Employees

Obviously, you have heard all about how to fire an employee before:

Be kind and understanding, do it behind closed doors, don’t humiliate them, be gentle, have a witness, have tissues at hand…

But here comes the twist:

The best practice when firing employees is to never have hired them in the first place.

If you end up firing plenty of employees because of poor performance, there’s something wrong with the recruitment process.

In all cases, set clear expectations and go over job descriptions before they start working.

And, never, ever, do it as a surprise magic trick, or rush it.

If an employee is underperforming, give them notice beforehand.

Give them constructive criticism and a second chance at improving.

If they’re not a good fit or are dragging you down, you sadly have to part.

Offboarding is a Team Effort

Unless you’re running a very, very small business, offboarding will be a team effort. Various employees and departments will contribute to the process, and it must be well-coordinated and efficient.

The exact steps you will follow will depend, to a certain extent, on the post that the employee is vacating. However, this basic step-by-step process should cover most eventualities and need only be adapted rather than redesigned when employees leave.

If you are in big company then you have probably seen employees being off boarded all the time.

At some point, you might have been wondering. Hm, isn’t this a bit repetitive? And time-consuming?

It surely is.

With so many details and intricacies, you want to make sure you have done everything correctly.

Hold on a second:

What if we told you the entire employee offboarding process can be automated?

Yes, you heard us right.

There are several ways for automating the employee off boarding process. For example, you could ask your dev team to tailor the process to your existing workflows and software. However, that can also turn out to be quite expensive. Your developer could spend the same precious time fixing P0-s and developing new core features.

Another, more cost-efficient way is by using workflow software or business process management software.

Employee Offboarding Process Using Workflow Automation Software

All those little details to remember, the people to be contacted, and legal paperwork (& more) can be solved in a matter of seconds with Tallyfy.

We’ll guide through a practical example of how to easily implement the employee offboarding process. For this specific example, we have used screenshots taken from our workflow software, Tallyfy.

Tallyfy logo

Tallyfy is a cloud-based workflow management software. It’s specially designed to assist teams of any size in diminishing time-consuming workflows by automating repetitive tasks.  

The employee offboarding process is by definition a workflow with multiple repetitive tasks involving many users!

Implementing the entire process described above manually would take an immense amount of time. And communication would become increasingly difficult with larger teams. Imagine all the mess created from the hundreds of emails and spreadsheets.

Automating the employee offboarding process with workflow software like Tallyfy, however, takes only a few minutes.

The best part about it is that you can create a template for a process. This template can then be customised by the entire team, or by whoever has permission/authorisation.

Once the template for the employee offboarding process is created, you can re-use it and customise it on the go as many times as you wish. If something new comes along, you can easily adapt the blueprint to the new requirements.

Without worrying about the process breaking or bottlenecking!

Here’s a template and what it would look like in Tallyfy:

client onboarding template

Create and Add Custom Field Tasks for Your Offboarding Process

Tallyfy’s other greatly valued feature is its ability to show the status of tasks in order for employees to be able to prioritize assignments and to avoid missing something important. Like an employee leaving the next day!

As workloads can sometimes be overwhelming, employees tend to forget about deadlines or face difficulties deciding where and when to put most of their effort. With Tallyfy, however, you can set alerts and deadlines for your employees.

For example, you can set an alarm to notify you several times during the last two weeks before an employee leaves the company. This way you can plan ahead the good-bye party, relevant documentation, and so on. Your employee offboarding process will go smoothly, without upper management having to micro-manage every step of the process.


Letting someone go is tough in any case, but you can make it a more graceful, efficient and less painful process with our comprehensive guide and checklist.

If you are having trouble with your carrying out efficiently your employee offboarding process. Or if you think it is taking a toll on your daily operations, give workflow software a try. Automating such processes and more is simple and easy with software like Tallyfy.

Streamline your HR processes (offboarding, orientation, etc.) with Tallyfy and ensure that you’ll never miss a critical step again.

Give our free trial a chance and watch redundant manual tasks of the employee offboarding process (& all other business processes) get magically done!

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