The Importance of Offboarding

Successfully integrating new employees into your organization, also known as onboarding, is something most companies put a lot of time and effort into perfecting. Although properly onboarding your new hires is incredibly important, offboarding departing employees is a process that also needs time and attention.

Offboarding is more than just changing company passwords and cutting off email access once the employee leaves to pursue another job opportunity. Your company’s reputation is on the line, and departing employees should be treated well if you want them to speak highly of your organization after they leave. It’s a big mistake If your company doesn’t have an organized and positive offboarding process.

Offboarding? Why?

  1. A bad employee experience could lead to a bad online review. Your company should be doing everything possible to avoid a negative review for an employee, and the offboarding process will be your last effort. A bad employee experience easily leads to a bad online review, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that unhappy ex-employees are more likely to leave a review than the happy ones. Even if employees are leaving on their own terms feeling okay about their time at your company, they can still leave with a bitter taste in their mouth if their final days were a disaster.
  2. Buffalo is small, word spreads. Not only will people not apply in the future reading your company’s bad reviews, but people might not purchase your product/service if they read or heard how poorly you have treated employees in the past. Although negative discussions of your company can’t always be avoided, a positive send off of a departing employee is a great final step to preserve the professional relationship.
  3. Your current staff is watching. Poorly executed offboarding doesn’t only affect your online reputation and potential future employees. If your current staff sees how unorganized your offboarding process is, or overall just appalled to see how you treat employees that are leaving, they might contemplate parting ways themselves.
  4. Your paths may cross again. Depending on the industry, you may have to work with the ex-employee in the future whether you like it or not. Handle things professionally on your end as they end this chapter of their career.
  5. Boomerang employees exist. If a departing employee had a great employee experience at your organization from onboarding to offboarding, this could encourage them to come back to work for your company at another point in their career. A lot of companies are becoming more and more comfortable with hiring boomerang employees.

A few offboarding tips

  1. Instead of cramming in extra work in their final weeks, focus on taking their work off their plate and delegating it to other staff members.
  2. Don’t cut employee’s computer/email access off too early. Not only is this not productive as you are still paying them to work, but it will leave a bad taste in their mouth.
  3. Regardless of the situation, always give the departing employee an exit interview and listen to what they have to say.
  4. When an employee turns in their resignation letter, now is not the time to tell them everything they have previously done wrong. If you haven’t discussed these issues before, it’s definitely not worth it now. Instead, remain positive, begin necessary offboarding steps, and encourage them to keep in touch.