Once job applicants become employees, they often go through an organized employee onboarding process. The onboarding process is the very first stage of an employee’s journey within a company, so it’s a vital step to ensure that new team members get integrated smoothly, kicking off their employee experience in the best way.
Onboarding typically includes (but is not limited to):
- An orientation that covers details about the company's structure, culture, mission, vision, and values.
- Reviewing the employee benefits they will receive.
- Gifting a fun employee welcome kit or care package.
- Going over their job description, workflow expectations, and anything else they need to know about their role and responsibilities.
- Training them to use the tools and softwares they’ll need for their role.
- Giving them a tour of the office space.
- Introducing them to their employees and team members.
On the other side of this journey is offboarding, which marks the inevitable end. Whether an employee has resigned or been let go, saying goodbye is hardly easy or fun, but the time will come at some point. And the process of gracefully wrapping up an employee's time at a company should be handled with care, for the benefit of the employee, the employer, and of course, the HR department.
Creating a successful offboarding process can help companies leverage the inevitable departure of employees to make their organization more resilient, innovative, and robust.
Research by Capitalize revealed that the offboarding process can significantly impact an employee’s opinion of the workplace, how they review the experience after leaving, and even the way remaining and potential employees perceive the organization. Apparently, though, companies are slow to recognize this—Capitalize surveyed 1,251 US workers and found that only 16% said they were properly offboarded in their previous role!
Offboarding typically includes (but is not limited to):
- Conducting an exit interview, offering feedback and support, and reviewing the required next steps.
- Collecting knowledge, data, and company equipment from the departing employee.
- In the case where the replacement comes on board before the final day of employment, project handovers and knowledge transfer is a part of the offboarding process, as well.
- Revoking access to digital accounts and stopping automatic paychecks.
- Informing the rest of the team about their departure.
- Organizing farewell gatherings to honor their time with the company and see them off.
Sure, offboarding might not be as glamorous as onboarding, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked… and here’s why:
It helps companies improve
Conducting an exit interview is a great opportunity for the employer and employee to exchange honest feedback. It helps the employer identify what they can do better. The employee can then provide useful information about their experience, suggestions for improvement, and any issues that they may have encountered during their time at the company. Not only is this helpful for continuously improving the company but also for enhancing the onboarding experience for future employees.
Managing employee turnover becomes easier
Having a structured offboarding process in place helps an organization learn how to manage employee turnover more efficiently, especially as the workforce continues to deal with the effects of the Great Resignation and numerous layoffs.
It’s a good way to keep track of valuable information and property
Receiving a proper handover is a way to preserve essential knowledge and information from departing employees, as well as making sure deadlines are kept and clients are happy.
Moreso, it’s a chance for the employee to return all company property, such as keys and access cards, laptops, confidential data, and other equipment.
It ensures a smooth transition for everyone involved
The handover also helps to smoothly migrate the employee’s job responsibilities, tasks, and tools onto the next person, be it a new hire or someone who has been promoted internally.
For the employee, offboarding is a chance to tie up any loose ends and make a smooth transition to their next opportunity.
It’s a practice of security and digital hygiene
Offboarding is also an opportunity to review the employee's access to company systems and information, and revoke or limit that access as necessary. This is to ensure that no private information is wrongfully or accidentally shared.
It leaves a positive impression
A proper send-off leaves a departing employee with a good, lasting impression of the organization. Plus, keeping lines of communication open with valued past employees is quite beneficial, not only because it can help should they decide they want to come back, but also because a positive final impression drives brand advocacy. Ex-employees can very well become loyal brand ambassadors.
In a world of reviews, ratings, viral LinkedIn posts, and recommendation letters, it could help ensure that both sides only have positive things to say about each other moving forward.
It’s an expression of gratitude for their hard work
Giving departing employees the proper time and attention they need to close their journey at the company reminds them that they’re cared for. It’s a chance for them to receive the acknowledgement, appreciation, and encouragement they need as they make a big change in their lives. They can leave knowing that their contributions were valued and that their time at the company was meaningful.
And finally, it speaks volumes
From onboarding to training and development, and all the way to offboarding, maintaining consistency all through the employee experience is an effective way to establish company culture, and paying attention to all parts of the journey gives companies the ability to reflect their core values through their practices.
Not only is offboarding a chance to say goodbye and ensure that the employee leaves on a positive note, but it’s also a way to establish who you are and how you want to show up as an organization that brings people together. Don't underestimate a great final impression, give your employees a proper send-off and make sure you’re ready for the next one to come onboard.
If you’d like to dive deeper into offboarding how-to’s and best practices, we cover everything you need to know in our guide!
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