You’ve probably heard a lot about employee onboarding, but a smooth exit is just as important as a great start. 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!
There’s a lot more to parting with a team member than simply saying goodbye. Our step-by-step employee offboarding checklist will help you to craft a comprehensive offboarding process that covers most, if not all, eventualities.
First Steps – Handling the Resignation
As soon as you know your employee is planning to leave, you should spring into action. Here’s what to do.
- Ensure you have a formal resignation letter or provide a termination form for the employee to fill in.
- Let the team know about the resignation. The workplace grapevine will take over if you don’t. This can lead to all sorts of weird rumors going around, with the reason for the employee quitting being anything from the company going bankrupt to the end of the world approaching. This, of course, can cause panic and be damaging to employee morale.
- Let support teams know about the resignation. For example, HR will need to prepare final documentation, and there will be extra work for payroll clerks. The IT department will also need to make access changes, and you should inform them in advance.
- If the employee works directly with clients, decide when and how to let them know and design a client handover process that will ensure that clients experience uninterrupted service.
- If the employee is in a very senior position, it may be wise to inform certain outside parties. For example, shareholders may feel insecure if personnel changes take them by surprise.
Prepare Final Documentation
To ensure a smooth departure, set the work that is necessary to compile final documentation in motion. This might include:
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- Non-disclosure agreements: these are best signed during onboarding, but should be reviewed with the employee during the offboarding process.
- Benefits documents and tax documents take time to prepare. Ideally, your outgoing employee should receive these on or before the last day of work.
- Final payroll must also be compiled and reviewed with the employee to avoid any last-minute payment disputes.
- Prepare a testimonial. Don’t wait for your employee to ask for his or her testimonial. Have it ready as part of the exit documentation you will hand over.
Plan and Initiate the Work Handover Process
A new employee will be taking over the duties of the old one. Minimize disruption by being prepared. If you transfer duties to an existing employee, your task will be the easiest. If there is a chance of a new employee starting after the departure of the old one, you will need to plan even more carefully.
- Will the employee train his or her replacement? What will this training consist of?
- Just where must the replacement employee begin? Presumably, there is already a job description – but there are almost sure to be processes or transactions that the new holder of the post must finalize.
- What information must be transferred? Prepare a list of files, documents, and other information that the employee must hand over before leaving.
- Determine and agree on the projects the outgoing employee must finalize. Set due dates and follow up.
Conduct an Exit Interview
The exit interview is very important. You want honest responses from the employee who is leaving, so it is best to allocate the task to a manager who the outgoing employee will trust. Although hearing criticism may be difficult; it is important that there should be no repercussions for the negative feedback given. Instead, exit interview feedback presents an opportunity to improve employee retention in future.
- Ask for feedback, specifically, determine the real reasons why the employee is leaving.
- Convey findings to the management team.
- Decide whether any changes should be made, and follow up.
Prepare for the Farewell
Farewells should be positive occasions, and they should certainly not go unmarked. Remember that the farewell also shows employees who are remaining with you that your company cares about its employees – even when they are leaving.
- Choose a farewell gift.
- Circulate a greeting card for co-workers to add their messages and good wishes.
- Have a farewell tea with goodies for all.
- Don’t forget to say your thankyous.
Recover Company Equipment and Assets
Farewells are emotional times, and it’s all too easy to forget to hand over something important. Prepare a checklist and allocate a responsible person or people to recover items like:
- Company credit cards
- Mobile phones
You are entitled to require reimbursement for any lost items, so be sure the employee knows in advance what is expected and what the implications are should they fail to return any items.
Store Employee Information and Open Channels for Further Communication
Allies will always be better than enemies, so encourage your outgoing employee to stay in touch. You must also ensure that your records are finalized and filed away for future reference if needed.
- Confirm contact details.
- If you have one, encourage your outgoing employee to join an alumnus network.
- Finalize employee records and store them safely.
Tidy up and Prepare for a Fresh Start
Once your ex-employee has departed, it’s time to ensure you’re ready for a fresh start.
- Remove employee access to workplace IT systems.
- Change passwords and other access codes.
- Redirect emails and calls.
- Update the company’s organogram.
- Prepare the workstation by tidying away any remaining clutter.
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.
Streamline the Offboarding Process With Tallyfy
Is the offboarding process simple? It should be. After all, it is a repeatable business process that you can follow every time somebody leaves your company. But nothing is as simple as it looks on paper – especially when it is on paper. Forget to sign a document? There are legal fines for that! Forget to get the employee contact information? There go your chances of ever getting back your company laptop!
That’s exactly where using the right workflow software can make the world of a difference. All you have to do is start the process using the software, and it will make sure that every one of your employees is aware of what steps they have to take to complete the offboarding process.