Like other HR branches, offboarding is evolving drastically. Offboarding is no longer about creating a list of administrative tasks and checking all the boxes. These days, offboarding can help you:
- Identify recruiting strengths and weaknesses.
- Detect onboarding problems.
- Spot employee turnover issues.
- Measure the departing employee’s perception of the company.
- Keep your brand and reputation intact.
- Maintain tight security to avoid theft, workplace violence and confidentiality breaches.
Achieving these objectives means having a holistic offboarding strategy that asks these questions:
- What is the nature of the separation? Did the employee resign with notice or quit without notice? Were they fired? Or are they retiring or being laid off?
- Who will be involved in the process? Besides the employee, offboarding typically includes the employee’s supervisor and the HR and payroll staff. Depending on the situation, other individuals — such as customers, managers and coworkers — may be involved.
- What happens if an employee resigns or is retiring? Try to get as much notice as possible to give you ample time to find a qualified replacement. Work with the employee to figure out a timeline that will minimize disruption in their workflow.
- What happens if an employee quits without notice or is suddenly fired? You should have a succession plan in place for dealing with unpredictable terminations, such as assigning a cross-trained employee to temporarily fill the gap or bringing in short-term help through a staffing agency.
- How will you find a permanent replacement? You can post vacancies internally to hire from within, ask outgoing employees for a referral if they’re leaving on good terms, or recruit externally.
- Will exit interviews be conducted? Exit interviews can help you understand departing employees’ view of the company. This information can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in your talent attraction, engagement and retention practices. Also, exit interviews should be offered to all departing employees, not just those who are resigning. While it may be difficult to survey fired employees, you should still make the interview available to them.
- Was the employee an asset to the company? If so, show your appreciation by extending a warm farewell, providing any resources that can elevate the employee’s career and communicating to the employee that your door is open should he or she want to return.
- Are events surrounding the separation properly documented? Thorough documentation is necessary for both voluntary and involuntary terminations.
- How will you minimize security risks? For example, establish procedures for collecting company property and deactivating computer access in a timely manner. Further, develop strategies for reducing the risk of disgruntled employees resorting to violence upon or after separation.
- What are the steps for processing termination paperwork? This includes all facets of compensation and benefits relevant to the departing employee.