Offboarding Doesn’t Have to Suck; Here’s How

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It’s always sad to see employees leave your organization, but there’s no reason that the process has to be painful for them or your company. Part of making the offboarding process easier for both HR and departing employees is following these steps.

1. Let Everyone Know That The Employee Is Leaving

No matter how much we try to fight turnover, it’s inevitable in the business world. When an employee leaves, it’s best to provide advance notice to everyone who has worked closely with the departing employee. This includes any outside sellers or contractors you do business with.

Details to include in your announcement:

  • The employee’s last day
  • Why they’re leaving (get the employee’s consent before you share the reason)
  • Whether or not their coworkers will be taking on extra responsibilities
  • When the search for a replacement will begin

Be sure to thank the departing employee for their service. As a show of gratitude, it lets everyone know that there’s no ill will.

2. Prepare A Successor

If an employee’s departure has been expected for a while, it’s easier to train someone to move into that role fairly quickly. Of course, rarely does the best case scenario work out in real life.

If the departing employee is leaving on good terms, they may be willing to provide an outline of their responsibilities and what their successor needs to know.

However, if the employee leaves suddenly or is terminated for cause, HR will have to outline the duties for the new employee. By preparing a list of expectations and responsibilities early on, you can help the successor transition into their job quickly and effectively.

3. Tie Up Loose Ends

Every employee will have some form of company property in their possession when they leave. You might think it’s no big deal to let a laptop or cell phone go, but over time these costs add up.

Inform departing employees that they’re responsible for returning all company property to HR in good condition. Failure to do so may result in deductions from their final paycheck.

Also, remind your IT department of the departure in case they need to revoke access to any programs. An unexpected data breach down the line by a former employee could cost far more than a missing laptop ever will.

4. Remind Employees About Health Benefits

Losing health benefits is a huge concern for employees leaving a job.

It’s like that your company will terminate its standard employee coverage a few weeks after the employee departs. That may take place at least a month before their insurance kicks in at their new job.

To keep employees satisfied on their way out, explain the COBRA health insurance coverage to them. In many cases, it allows departing employees to retain a former employer’s health coverage for at least 18 months.

5. Perform An Exit Interview

Exit interviews have fallen out of favor at some companies as some HR directors don’t find them to be very effective.

To some extent, they’re right. Many employees won’t take these exit interviews seriously.

However, that discounts the valuable data that you can get from those who wish to participate. From these employees, you can learn a lot about why they’ve decided to leave your company. You can also gain insight into how you can improve workplace culture.

For all exit interviews, conduct them as one-on-one private meetings. The employee will feel less defensive if they’re only talking to one person. Before you begin the interview, explain the purpose so the employee will understand what you’re looking to accomplish.

Questions to ask:

  • Why have you decided to leave the company?
  • What did you find most satisfying about your job? What was least satisfying?
  • What changes would you make to improve the workplace?
  • How was your relationship with your supervisor? What could your supervisor do to improve their management style?
  • Do you feel you received enough support and feedback to do your job?

At the end of the interview, remember to thank the employee for their contributions, and let them know that their answers have been helpful.

A productive exit interview can mean fewer employees choosing to leave. And with less offboarding work in the future, you’ll be able to focus on the other major duties of an HR professional. That’s a win-win overall.


Feature Photo: Pressmaster /

Author: Julien Emery

Julien Emery is the CEO and co-founder of Allay, an all-in-one solution for benefits, HR management, on- and off-boarding, compliance and reporting.

Prior to Allay, Emery co-founded Statis Health a disease management platform that enables care teams to monitor and assist patients remotely. He was the first sales person at HootSuite where he helped scale the company to what is now “a tech Unicorn”, and has also held business development and strategy roles with Invoke Media and Reelhouse.

Emery graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Kinesiology. He is passionate about creating and growing businesses, always learning, and helping to develop people.

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