What is offboarding and how do you approach it?

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

employee offboarding

Offboarding is more than sending a gift card when an employee leaves the company. By handling the offboarding process thoughtfully and personally, you ensure that departing employees leave with a good feeling. And offboarding has more benefits! So do you have your onboarding program in place? Great. Then now it’s time for a good offboarding program. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the importance of offboarding, and the steps you need to take to create a successful program. 

Table of Contents

What is meant by offboarding? 

The meaning of offboarding is literally: the exit of employees. With this, offboarding is the opposite of onboarding. With an offboarding process, you do not regulate the procedure around onboarding, but the process around offboarding. You are doing exit management, whether it concerns a voluntary or forced departure. Offboarding is designed to provide departing employees with a smooth transition while disengaging from their position in a company. Furthermore, the transfer of knowledge to other employees, proper financial completion and a fitting farewell are key to the process. 

How long does offboarding take and when do you start it?

The offboarding process usually takes one to two months, depending on factors as the notice period and the number of days off the employee still may take. Suppose one of your frontline employees asks if you have a moment. In the conversation that follows, he tells you he found another job. Bummer! Still, it’s important not to let the message sink in for too long and get the offboarding going quickly. After all, the offboarding program takes place in the period between the termination and the actual goodbye. 

What are the steps in the offboarding process?

The average offboarding process involves several stages and actions. Below we list the steps involved in a good offboarding procedure. Consider it a handy checklist and add steps as appropriate or necessary. 

1. Thank you, and congratulations

This is where offboarding process begins. As much as you may regret the departure of your frontline employee, congratulate them on their new job and thank them for all their impactful work for your organization.

2. Communication about the departure

Inform the team members and other colleagues about the upcoming departure. Of course, the employees can also do this themselves, but check that no one is forgotten. Does someone have a lot of contact with regular customers or suppliers? If so, let them know who they can contact in the future.

3. Transfer of knowledge

Perhaps the departing employee is taking indispensable knowledge with him. Ask if they can share as much of this as possible before disengaging with your organization. Preferably directly to a successor or immediate colleague who will take over the duties. You can also consider using eLearning, where you ask the departing employee to share specific knowledge about a procedure or service via an interactive learning module.

Microlearning example
Pass on valuable knowledge via interactive eLearning modules in your employee app

4. Financial and administrative arrangements

From outstanding vacation days and payment of the last salary to a pension and annual statements. Make sure everything is handled properly.

5. Return of company assets

Return of items such as keys, access passes, and company clothing.

6. Exit interview

Take time for an exit interview with the employee who is leaving. Perhaps they have some tips for you or the organization? Or do they want to share certain experiences? This can be done in person or, for example, via an offboarding survey

7. Farewell

Appreciation is important for everyone. Therefore, organize a pleasant and personal farewell together with direct colleagues. Of course, it makes a difference whether someone has been employed for three months or twenty years, but organizing team drinks and a farewell gift is the least you can do. Share photos of this through your internal communication tools so everyone is reminded to say goodbye to their departing colleague. 

Offboarding events example
Easily organize a farewell event via your employee app

8. Contact after departure

This step is often underestimated, while former employees can be the best ambassadors for your company! For example, keep sending them a Christmas card, invite them to get-togethers, or occasionally ask how the new job, studies, or home life is going.

What tools can you use when offboarding?

There are useful tools on the market that can support the departing employee or you as an employer or HR professional during offboarding. For example, offboarding tools Jira, Asana, or Basecamp offer checklists. Are all tasks before departure indeed completed? In addition to an automated offboarding process, you can choose tools that let you fill out surveys. In Google Forms or Typeform, employees can share valuable information and useful observations. Another good idea is to streamline the offboarding process using the same tool: the Oneteam employee app. From internal communication, filling out forms and checklists, conducting employee surveys, and planning the farewell dinner, you take care of it via your employee app. 

Who is involved in the offboarding of an employee?

Several people are involved in the offboarding of an employee. First, the employee himself and his supervisor, of course. Usually, the supervisor conducts the initial interview. HR usually plays a coordinating role in the rest of the offboarding process. Then the direct colleagues from the team come into the picture. They have to take over tasks and are involved in the parting. Other colleagues from finance, for example, also play a role in employee offboarding.

What insights do you want to get from an exit interview?

A good exit interview gives you valuable insights and information that you can use to learn and grow from. Especially if you ask the right questions, the exit interview will be valuable for both parties. Some appropriate questions are:

– Why did you choose to change jobs?

– What was great and not so great about our organization and your job?

– What could we have done to keep you?

– How do you rate the workload, culture and atmosphere among ourselves?

– Would you recommend our company to others? Or ever come back?

Why is offboarding so important?

Good exit management – or offboarding – helps form or maintain a strong employer brand. Former employees who have left in a pleasant way are more likely to talk positively about your company. In this way, they help recruit customers as well as new staff. Offboarding has an impact on the entire employee journey. The better your offboarding process, the more confident employees are in a good completion and the more likely they are to come back in the future. A clear offboarding process is also nice for your HR department. It gives insight into processes and ensures that you don’t skip or forget any steps. In summary, offboarding gives you control over the situation surrounding offboarding.

The next step in setting up your offboarding process

Now that you know why offboarding is so important and what to look for when shaping the offboarding process, you can get started. Consider tools that make it easier for you as an employer and also your employees, such as Oneteam’s mobile app. With this app, you shape your offboarding process. You use it to organize offboarding surveys, schedule the date for the farewell party, and post thank-you notes on the timeline. Last but not least, you use the forms and checklists in the app to make the offboarding process run smoothly. This helps you make the termination of that important and fun colleague becomes just a little less bad.

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman is the founder of Oneteam. He mainly writes about the future of frontline employee experience and key frontline HR trends.Fun fact about Ruben: Started his professional career working as a frontline worker at supermarkets and as a pizza delivery guy. The frustrations he encountered as frontline worker lead him to build an employee experience app focused on making the frontline workforce successful and engaged.

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