When an employee leaves an organization because of resignation, redundancy, or other reason, several activities need to be completed within the HR function. Just missing one item can result in severe consequences as everything needs to be done just right. This is when an employee offboarding checklist comes into play.
An employee offboarding checklist details all of the necessary tasks that must be done when an employee leaves the company. It is often completed as a check-box exercise so that line managers and HR team members can see at a glance which activities have been finished and which are still outstanding.
Onboarding is about making sure that people become familiar with the organization, the people, and the culture of the company they’ve just joined. It’s about building the foundations for a strong, lasting relationship.
Offboarding is the process during which people leave their colleagues and the company they work for in a structured manner. While onboarding focuses on a smooth integration of new hires, offboarding is all about saying goodbye and giving employees an easy, stress-free exit.
Don’t delay in letting the team know the employee is moving on. You don’t want rumours or gossip disrupting your workplace. Let everyone know the employee is leaving, thank them for their service and if it’s appropriate, let everyone know why they’re moving on and who will be taking over their responsibilities.
In particular, make sure the employee’s direct team, managers and subordinates know what’s going on, as well as payroll and IT, who will have a few offboarding processes to carry out themselves.
If you’ve had a successor planned, this step should be relatively easy. If not, hopefully you’ve still got a good relationship with the exiting employee. Ask them to transfer their knowledge (the ‘How To’s for their role) and train up their successor.
When you don’t have a successor ready to go, you’re going to have to create documents, processes and contact lists ready for the replacement to use once you’ve filled the position.
Surprisingly, many organizations fail to recover company assets like mobile phones, laptops, and equipment when employees leave.
The trick is to make someone responsible for recovering the assets. Ask the employee to do it, but have someone (a line manager, maybe IT or someone in the provisioning team) responsible for following up and keeping track of the assets as they are returned.
References to employees no longer at the organization slow down and confuse internal communication – especially for new employees. Make sure your org charts and directories are up to date, with the employee’s replacement details included to ensure a smooth transition.
If the employee is referenced in any company collateral (brochures, website) be sure to update these too.
Cyber security breaches cost a large amount of loss every year and a large proportion of those breaches are believed to be from former employees who never had their system access revoked. Whilst this is generally an IT process, IT will need to be notified by HR about the departing employee to complete their offboarding checklists.
Remember that any shared accounts (shared passwords, single-user internal systems and so on) will also need to have their passwords updated to prevent breaches.
Payroll systems have this functionality built in, but it’s important to make sure the final pay process is actually carried out by payroll. Shockingly, in some large organizations employees aren’t always taken off the payroll system until months after they exit.
Communication is key here, as you’ll need to ensure payroll knows details like the employee’s end date, notice period and any extra information they’ll need to legally compensate the employee.
While the effectiveness of exit surveys is often debated, they can also lead to some good insights into what does and doesn’t work in your organization.
They key is to keep the questions short and to the point, encourage honesty and use the data to prevent future high performers from leaving your team.
Your exiting employee may want a letter of reference, or at the very least, a certificate of service as evidence of their employment. The amount of documentation you provide to the employee will depend on the circumstances of their separation, but you’ll be legally obliged to provide final pay information, a certificate of service and contracts if requested, so be prepared.
Particularly if the employee is leaving on good terms, make sure they feel appreciated for their contribution. Not only will this make them more likely to look on your organization favorably in the future (maybe as a future customer, partner or supplier), but it will also keep up morale for the rest of the team who may have negative feelings about the separation.
Former employees are becoming more likely to ‘boomerang’ back into the organization later on in their careers, bringing with them added experience, knowledge and connections. They’re also great at directing potential candidates in their network towards your advertised positions.
Of course, to ensure both of these things happen, you’re going to need to make sure the employee has a very positive offboarding experience. You’re also going to need a way to communicate with them later on down the track.