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Employee Offboarding Checklist: The Best Offboarding Practices That You Need in 2024

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Employee offboarding is often overshadowed by its counterpart, employee onboarding but it is as strategic as onboarding practices and it deserves equal attention.

It’s imperative to understand what employee offboarding entails and what it does not. Offboarding is not a confrontational or neglectful process and it protects employers from legal pitfalls.

In our article, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive guide to employee offboarding by including an employee offboarding checklist, offboarding best practices and the common offboarding mistakes. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

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Definition of Employee Offboarding

Employee offboarding is a formal process a company undertakes when an employee leaves the organization, whether due to resignation, termination, retirement, or other reasons. This process is crucial for both the organization and the departing employee.

Even if your employees are leaving involuntarily, there is quite a bit of employee offboarding to be done.

  • Employee offboarding is a process where you separate from a former employee gracefully
  • By practicing employee offboarding you can transition from your former employee to the next one more easily.
  • Employee offboarding can protect your organization from legal issues such as lawsuits and wrongful pay continuation.
  • Implementing employee offboarding helps you strengthen your company culture.

Employee Offboarding Checklist

By using the employee offboarding checklist below, you will ensure a well-structured offboarding process. This checklist will help you address key offboarding tasks such as returning company property and deactivating access credentials.

Furthermore, with this thorough employee offboarding checklist, you will be able to cover everything about your employee offboarding process.

employee offboarding checklist

What are the best practices for employee offboarding?

If not managed tactfully, employee offboarding can be awkward and uncomfortable both for you and your former employees. Here are our employee offboarding suggestions that you can implement to create a graceful and successful employee offboarding process:

1. Ensure fairness during your employee offboarding

You should make sure that your former employees are being treated with fairness and kindness while they are leaving your organization. You can thank your former employees for their contributions and the time they invested during their employment.

Ensuring a civil departure will protect your organization from legal issues and data breaches. Moreover, you should maintain a positive relationship with your former employees so they can be brand ambassadors or industry connections.

2. Identify why your employees are leaving

The scope of your employee offboarding will change depending on the reason for your employee’s departure. For example, if your employee is retiring the offboarding process will be more straightforward. However, you can gain valuable insights from resigning employees who will work elsewhere.

Furthermore, employees who have been let go might require a different approach when it comes to offboarding.

3. Communicate with the office about the departure

You should communicate with the rest of your crew about the departure as soon as possible because if you wait, your team might perceive the reasons for the departure differently and even think of it as firing.

You need to be honest about why your former employee is leaving, whether it’s a voluntary or involuntary departure. Furthermore, avoid gossiping since it is unprofessional and can ruin the entire employee offboarding process.

4. Secure your company assets and revoke access

To ensure compliance with the company protocols and to secure your company assets you need an offboarding process.

Before letting your employee go, you should make sure that the employee turns in your company equipment including keys, badges, uniforms, electronic devices, cars, and documents. With this practice, you will be also able to prevent data leaks.

Moreover, you should revoke your departing employee’s access to your organization’s systems. These systems include email, CRM systems, social media, internal platforms, and sales databases.

During the separation period, you can give your employee some time to remove their information from your systems.

5. Hold an exit interview

Employee offboarding can’t be imagined without an exit interview. With an exit interview, you will be able to collect insight into your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Your former employees can give you feedback on workload, company culture, and management in general.

A few important questions to ask during your exit interviews include:

  • How satisfactory was your job? Did it meet your expectations?
  • How did you get along with your manager and your coworkers?
  • How can we improve ourselves?
  • What are our strengths?
  • What’s enjoyable about working here?

You can find other questions by reading our article about exit interview questions! And you can always tailor these questions in a way that works better for your organization’s offboarding practices.

Using review software for exit interviews:

It isn’t always a matter of if you’re conducting exit interviews but HOW you’re conducting exit interviews. You need a digitized solution in place to make sure you are getting all the necessary insights from your exit interviews. This is where you can use the best performance review software for Microsoft Teams: Teamflect.

Step 1: Go into Teamflect’s Reviews Module

The performance reviews module inside Teamflect serves as a hub for all the reviews conducted in your organization. This goes for your exit interviews as well.

Once you’re inside, all you have to do is click “New Review”.

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Select the Exit Interview Review Template

Teamflect users have access to a wide array of customizable performance review templates, including an exit interview template that is all set for you to use. These templates can be fully customized by:

  • Changing question types: Open-ended, Multiple Choice, Likert Scale, Rating, etc.
  • Integrating goal completion rates.
  • Integrating 360-degree feedback data.
  • Including an employee development plan.
  • Creating a custom evaluation criteria
  • Adding the 9-Box Talent Grid.
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Step 3: Complete the review

Once you send out the necessary review template, your employee will receive an adaptive card inside Microsoft Teams chat, as well as an e-mail that leads them directly into the review template. Once they fill it out with their answers, your review will be complete. That’s how easy it is to go through reviews with Teamflect.

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Step 4: Reporting & Analytics

Teamflect offers plenty of detailed analytics and reports on all the reviews you conduct in your organization and that includes exit interviews as well. Access and analyze these reports to make educated decisions on how you can boost your employee retention rates.

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Use the best performance review software for Microsoft Teams.
No sign-up required.
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6. Successfully transfer employee information

You need to keep the departing employee’s information within your organization. The specifics of information transfer will change depending on what kind of job it was, but you need to consider these important elements:

  • Have a solid understanding of your departing employee’s daily work routine.
  • Have access to the systems and files the employee used.
  • Know who your former employee worked with.
  • Determine if your new employee has to go through extensive training once you replace the former employee.

7. Minimize its negative impact on productivity

Your employee’s departure can disrupt the workflow of your team and have a negative impact on productivity. Your team members might be assigned to work that the former employee couldn’t finish and this can lead to a significant amount of stress in your workplace.

So, you need to be as transparent and tolerant as possible when it comes to managing the changes of your team’s daily work routines.

Moreover, you need to work with the former employee so you can successfully transfer organizational knowledge to reduce the departure’s potential damage to productivity.

8. Succession Planning is key!

No matter how an employee leaves, they are sure to leave a gaping hole in their stead. You need to be ready to transfer the departing employee’s responsibilities and projects to someone else.

There are plenty of succession planning methodologies you can use in order to name a replacement for the employee leaving. We strongly recommend using the 9-box grid talent analysis for succession planning.

Why should you offboard your employees?

employee offboarding

1. Employee offboarding improves security

When an employee decides to leave your company, whether it’s a friendly or not-so-friendly departure, you need to secure your company data.

Securing company information by preventing access to critical data, and restricting access to your company websites, important documents and software will help you keep things confidential. By implementing offboarding best practices, you can also prevent theft or misuse of your organization’s equipment.

There is more to securing your company data. Let’s say one of your salespeople is leaving. If they still have access to the list of your top prospects, they can do business with your potential customers and this means trouble. So, you need employee offboarding to have a secure transition.

2. Organizational transfer of knowledge

When an employee leaves, it’s similar to losing a walking encyclopedia of work-related information. This especially applies to senior employees who has years of experience working with you. These long-tenured employees know about the unwritten rules and their wisdom can’t be found in manuals.

So, you need to be smart about your employee offboarding. You can minimize the disruption that might result from employee turnover by following formal procedures to document and pass on your organizational knowledge.

By ensuring formal documentation you can continue to run your business smoothly and facilitate the onboarding of your new team members.

3. Opportunity to receive honest feedback

When someone decides to move on, don’t think of it just as a farewell, their departure will also give you valuable insights. Employee offboarding can serve as a reality check because there might have been things happening under the radar such as manager issues, problems with colleagues or issues with your business strategy.

However, employee offboarding is not all about troubleshooting. You will hear the positives including what business practices work and which employees contribute to a healthy company atmosphere.

Even if it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, you should try to get to the heart of the matter by asking the right questions. You should take employee feedback seriously since it’s a chance to level up your company culture and business practices.

Common Offboarding Mistakes to Avoid

You should avoid these common mistakes when tailoring your own employee offboarding process:

common employee offboarding mistakes to avoid

1. Not conducting the exit interview thoroughly

You should be thorough during your exit interview to collect valuable information on why your employee is leaving. You need to ask about specific aspects regarding employee experience such as:

  • Team harmony and dynamics.
  • Working environment.
  • The effectiveness of the management.

Put simply, during exit interviews you should aim to understand how you can improve your company.

2. Not taking security measures seriously

Your company’s security should come first so during the offboarding process it’s advisable to adhere to a zero trust model. To implement this model, you can change passwords, close accounts, and restrict access once your employee leaves your company.

On top of that, it’s recommended to restrict building access and invalidate ID cards of your former employees.

3. Failing to take a data-driven approach to offboarding

Your HR team and leadership should evaluate the offboarding process periodically to make sure that you are getting the desired results.

You can review these elements of your employee offboarding process:

  • How valuable the data you collect from the exit interviews.
  • The purpose and efficiency of your exiting process.
  • The effects of different offboarding practices on employee perceptions.

4. Holding only HR responsible for offboarding

You need to create cross departmental harmony to ensure a smooth offboarding process. To achieve this, you can include:

  • The former employee’s department
  • IT department.
  • And your HR department.

Employee offboarding requires the collaboration of these departments. Moreover, these departments can create employee offboarding checklists to streamline the offboarding procedure.

5. Not preserving the employee’s knowledge that can improve workplace productivity

Your former employees accumulate knowledge as they stay with your company and you need to make sure that you preserve this knowledge so your workplace can benefit from it by reducing the learning curve and training costs.

If your former employees document their workflows and business practices, your prospective employees can benefit from this pool of knowledge by studying it. So, you can ask your departing employees to share their accumulated knowledge to transfer organizational knowledge and improve productivity.

In A Nutshell

Employee offboarding is a strategic process that is important for maintaining security, preserving institutional knowledge, while ensuring a smooth transition for both departing and remaining team members.

By parting ways gracefully, and treating departing employees fairly you will be able to protect your organization from legal issues.

You can improve your employee offboarding strategy by downloading our free employee offboarding checklist. Implement employee offboarding best practices we provided to ensure fairness and security during your offboarding process.

You can also secure your organization’s future by optimizing your offboarding process through Teamflect. To schedule a free demo, all you have to do is click the button below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best practices of employee offboarding?

If not managed tactfully, employee offboarding can be awkward and uncomfortable both for you and your former employees. Here is our employee offboarding suggestions that you can implement to create a graceful and successful employee offboarding process:

  1. Ensure fairness during your employee offboarding.
  2. Identify why your employees are leaving.
  3. Communicate with the office about the departure.
  4. Secure your company assets and revoke access.
  5. Hold an Exit Interview.
  6. Successfully transfer employee information.
  7. Minimize its negative impact on productivity.
  8. Keep in touch with your former employees.

Why should you offboard your employees?

  • Employee offboarding improves security.
  • Organizational transfer of knowledge.
  • Opportunity to receive honest feedback.

What are the common offboarding mistakes to avoid?

  1. Not conducting the exit interview thoroughly.
  2. Not taking security measures seriously.
  3. Failing to take a data-driven approach to offboarding.
  4. Holding only HR responsible for offboarding.
  5. Not preserving the employee’s knowledge that can improve workplace productivity.

Written by Duygu Soysanli

Duygu is a content writer who enthusiastically writes useful content about the dynamic world of HR.

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