The offboarding process is part of the employee lifecycle and can lead to more engagement and talent retention. This process involves so many tasks that having an offboarding checklist is the best way to ensure a smooth and safe offboarding for both company and employee.
Managers can leverage knowledge provided by the offboarding process to make changes and help the entire company to grow wiser in hiring and minimise the impact of employee separation.
Also, if the offboarding process is done right it will help companies to understand why employees leave, so HR teams can make adjustments to improve the employee experience and reduce turnover.
The employee offboarding process can be triggered by resignation, termination, or retirement and involves a wide range of tasks and workflows, such as:
- Sharing of knowledge and transferring responsibilities;
- Revoke account access;
- Asset reclamation;
- Exit Interviews (plus feedback);
- Payroll removal;
- Updating company contact information and organisational charts;
- Take ID badges back.
It is important to notice that the tasks involved vary depending on the employee’s role, and some offboarding processes can be longer, especially for high-responsibility positions.
That’s why an offboarding checklist helps managers keep the steps involved on track, being particularly helpful when the leaving employee has access to critical accounts or sensitive equipment.
Why is it critical to plan the offboarding process?
An effective offboarding process is essential to companies for diverse reasons, from security to employee branding. Take a look at the main benefits of having a well-planned offboarding:
Effective offboarding processes help to cut ends and remove access to the company’s critical data when an employee moves on.
The offboarding process is also an opportunity for managers to gather feedback about their role and for companies to understand how to improve the employee experience.
A robust employee offboarding makes it easier to keep a smooth workflow when an employee leaves your company.
An offboarding process helps managers improve engagement and reduce employee turnover by understanding why they decide to go.
Knowledge management is important for any company, and it makes the offboarding process even more essential. Without planning the offboarding process, companies might see valuable knowledge lost when employees leave. A robust offboarding process helps organizations preserve and transfer knowledge to new employees
Also, the last impression is the last, so use the offboarding process to shape critical impressions people will have of your company and the image they will share with the world.
Why is an offboarding checklist important?
Creating multiple to-do lists is especially useful when employees have access to admin or financial accounts, or knowledge transfer is needed. That’s why an offboarding checklist helps organisations keep the tasks involved in offboarding on track.
From separation to hiring, an offboarding checklist helps HR teams create a roadmap of success when an employee leaves, and also makes recruitment more efficient and new hires ready for the job faster.
When an employee exits a company, many things might be left unresolved, and there is room for security branches and leaks. Creating an offboarding checklist is essential for keeping your data list safe and making sure that former employees don’t have access to your shared drive, email, and other logins.
Also, the offboarding process is critical to keeping knowledge and experience from leaving employees within your company.
That’s why planning the employee offboarding process and creating a checklist is critical: not only to gather feedback, improve employee experience and reduce turnover, but also to boost security and keep workflows running smoothly when you need to replace an employee.
What is an employee offboarding checklist?
As mentioned, the offboarding process can vary from company to company and depending on the role of the leaving employee. But most times, the steps involved in an offboarding process are made of the following:
- Employee gives notice
- The company advertises for the job and recruits candidates
- Knowledge transfer
- Final day
- Exit interview
Let’s now take a look at each of these steps in more detail.
Communication is a key factor in any work-related activity. But during an offboarding process, effective communication is even more important. Communicate with employees quickly, so people receive accurate information fast, and you avoid company gossip.
- Inform human resources and employees as soon as possible;
- Ask for a letter of resignation if the employee is resigning;
- Thank the leaving employee for their work;
- Congratulate them, if they are moving on to a new role in another company.
But in any case, when an employee is leaving, start by thanking them for the work they’ve done and the time and energy they’ve invested.
The second step usually is advertising the open position. Depending on the role, it is possible to promote from within or hire external workers. The recruitment process should start as soon as employee separation is defined and communicated.
Especially for high-responsibility roles, a checklist can help to find out if there is someone in your organisation who can replace the leaving employee.
Make a list of all the qualities you need for a given role, and check if it is possible to promote from within instead of hiring someone.
Whether you hire a successor or promote from within, you must ensure that knowledge stays inside your company. This will make onboarding faster and help you to keep turnover impact to a minimum.
Here are a few key elements to keep in mind:
- An overview of their workflow and routine;
- Mapping priority tasks;
- Which systems, shared drives, and files do they use;
- Who they work with, inside and outside the organisation, and their contacts;
- The exiting employee hands out important files and prepares projects to move to another person.
Sometimes the leaving employee may train the new hire. A good practice, in any case, is to ask the leaving employee to craft a job aid, an infographic, or a video tutorial with tips for the next person in line.
The final day
During the notice period, the employee hands off critical files and prepares projects to move to another person.
Usually, the time between giving notice and the final day is enough to accomplish all the other tasks involved in the offboarding process, and on the last day all the leaving employees have to do is to turn assets in.
The exit interview is a critical part of the offboarding process, regardless of how the employee left. This can be done after or before their last day and should be taken seriously, although not all suggestions can or should be implemented.
Feedback from employees who leave can make the following onboarding process more effective.
Also, this feedback is special because people who are leaving are not afraid of telling you the role truth. So if they are unhappy with some aspect of your company, chances are they will tell you during the interview things they didn’t before.
Here are a few questions you can ask during an exit survey:
- Why did you begin looking for a new job?
- What made you accept the new position?
- Did you feel that you were equipped to excel at your job?
- Since we hired you, do you feel your job description has changed? In what way?
- Were you satisfied with how you were managed? What things could your manager have done better?
- Did you feel like a valuable part of the company? Do you have any suggestions for improvements?
- Did you have clear goals and objectives? Did your manager help you achieve those goals and objectives?
- Did you receive constructive feedback to help you improve?
- What was your best experience in the company? What was the worst?
A good exit interview improves onboarding and makes it more effective. If, for example, an employee says that he never felt part of the company culture, you can use this feedback to create team-building exercises to improve engagement.
A new person is hired
Although this session is after the exit interview, the hiring process should be finished before the final day. Here, employee training, onboarding and offboarding may overlap.
The onboarding process involves everything related to hiring, adapting, and training an employee. If the offboarding is successfully done, integrating new employees will be easier, so, while onboarding and offboarding are two separate processes, they are part of the same cycle.
Employee offboarding checklist examples
Now that we’ve covered the main steps of the offboarding process, let’s see some examples of offboarding checklists and their specificities. Having an offboarding checklist will ensure departing employees and the company have a trouble-free separation experience.
Offboarding checklists are an effective way to keep track of everything a company needs to do to successfully finish an employer-employee relationship, as it is critical to have everything documented before starting an offboarding process.
An employee offboarding checklist should be straightforward and cover everything that needs to be done by the employee’s last day, so all the critical information must be available in one or two visuals. This is the best way to help everyone involved to remember everything.
Having multiple offboarding checklists
When some items on your to-do list are made of multiple items or tasks, it is useful to create multiple offboarding checklists. By doing this, you make sure your offboarding plan covers everything that people involved in the offboarding process have to do.
An offboarding checklist can also help employees prepare themselves when it is time to leave your company. So consider providing your employees a with checklist with all the equipment they have to return and the information you need from them to ensure a smooth transition.
Check the infographic below as an example:
- Employee offboarding checklist
Also, some companies may need multiple offboarding checklists to make each step clearer, easier to follow, and suitable for every situation instead of a one-size-fits-all checklist. See this employee equipment return checklist, for example:
- Equipment return checklist
As you can see, there are many items on this checklist. Without a list, it’s hard to make sure the employee returns everything on his last day.
The checklist below is more comprehensive but less detailed and fits any business that wants to simplify the offboarding process for employees, managers, and RH teams.
- Offboarding checklist example
Beyond data security, employee offboarding is part of the process of separating an employee from a company. Leverage offboarding checklists to make it easier to go through this process without missing a beat.
Visuals help to improve employee communication and are great tools to make the offboarding process more predictable and effective. An offboarding checklist is the best way of documenting all the necessary steps to keep your business running smoothly when an employee leaves.
About the Author
Alessandro Oliveri is a content creator at Venngage, the infographic maker. He enjoys writing on visuals, marketing, and Human Resources. His aim is to help people to simplify the communication process and take visuals to the next level.