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All of your employees will leave eventually, perhaps due to voluntary turnover, retirement, or an involuntary termination. But their employee lifecycle doesn’t end there. Your former employees have the power to influence your employer and corporate brands, impacting candidate and buyer decisions. Former employees could even become boomerang employees, bringing new skills back to your company in the future. Maximize your employee lifetime value with an employee offboarding process that leaves a positive, lasting impression during this transition.

Employee offboarding best practices/checklist

  • Host a one-on-one conversation: The employee’s manager or an HR representative should acknowledge a voluntary resignation, or deliver a termination notice, one-on-one. First, thank the employee for their service. Second, discuss the reasons for the employee’s departure. In the event of voluntary turnover, try to find out why the employee is leaving and if there’s anything you can do to convince them to stay. A counter-offer, promotion, or manager change could help you retain great talent. Employees being involuntarily terminated can leave on good terms, too. Employees with performance issues should be well aware of their deficiencies from regular manager check ins. Use this opportunity to offer some praise and well wishes for their future. Layoffs should be delivered gently, with plenty of praise, an offer of recommendation, and perhaps a severance package.
  • Document turnover details: Document details about the employee departure in your People Operations platform. This should include their full name, termination type (voluntary, involuntary, or other), whether they’re eligible for rehire (yes, no, upon review), and date of termination.
  • Share next steps: Communicate next steps if your efforts to retain your employee fail. Confirm the employee’s last day, what to do with equipment, and offer a glimpse of what their final time may look like.
  • Wrap up projects: The manager and departing employee should schedule a one-on-one to review current projects, so the manager can decide whether to table them or delegate them.
  • Re-assign direct reports: If a manager is being offboarded, reassign their direct reports to a new manager and facilitate introductions.
  • Complete paperwork: Complete any needed paperwork, such as a severance package and written termination letter, if needed.
  • Update contact information: Make sure you have the most up-to-date contact information for each of your departing employees. At the very least, you will need to send to employment documents at the end of the year. You may also want to keep in touch with your former employees for future job opportunities.
  • Send an exit survey: Ask your departing employee to complete an exit survey before they leave. There may be many things factoring into their resignation, so ask pointed questions. For instance: How was your relationship with your manager? Do you feel you were compensated fairly? Were you satisfied with our employee benefits? Also include open-ended questions to dig in deeper, such as: What other benefits could we have offered? What is the single biggest area we have for improvement? Look for themes in your feedback so you can make strategic improvements and retain more talent in the future.
  • Send a farewell gift or host an event: Host a farewell event, like a team lunch, happy hour, or even a bagel breakfast. A personal letter or small gift from the leadership team are extra touches that can go a long way in leaving a strong impression.
  • Keep in touch: Invite departing employees to join your company alumni program, even if it’s just a quarterly email or an informal LinkedIn or Facebook group. Keep in touch with company news and job opportunities. Some companies even host annual alumni networking events to get everyone together in person.
  • Request a Glassdoor review: Ask your departing employee to leave a Glassdoor review when they’re leaving on good terms. This can be a fantastic opportunity to build your employer brand and attract more great talent to your company.
  • Discuss final pay: Get together with your departing employee to discuss final pay and benefits information. Request that they complete their final expense report.
  • Block office access: Collect items related to office access, including badges, keys, and parking passes on the employees last day.
  • De-provision accounts: Deprovision all accounts, including email, company-wide accounts, and department-specific accounts once the employee has departed. Change passwords to any shared accounts.

Final thoughts on employee offboarding

Employee turnover can be inconvenient and expensive, but it can also be a great way to infuse your company with new talent and fresh ideas. Further, your former employees get to have new experiences and learn new skills—which they could very well bring back to your company at some point in the future. A structured, positive employee offboarding process can help you wrap up an equally positive employee experience and ensure a smooth transition for all parties.

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