Offboarding is a vital process for any company: By providing positive offboarding experiences for outgoing workers, organizations can maintain brand reputation and help departing employees successfully move on to their new careers. Effective offboarding can even contribute to higher employee retention and prevent poor reviews from surfacing on Glassdoor and social media sites.
How can companies employ a successful offboarding process? What can HR leaders do to cover the necessary bases while making sure transitioning employees feel heard and supported? Here’s a 6-step offboarding checklist that goes over offboarding essentials, from goal-setting groundwork to exit interview preparation.
The Offboarding Checklist
1. Set big-picture offboarding objectives
Setting objectives in the beginning can help keep the offboarding process on track. Consider what the ideal outcomes might be for you and your organization, when adding goals to your offboarding checklist. Make sure the goals you set are realistic, specific, and in line with overall company goals. For example, you might decide your objectives are to maintain a positive company culture, boost employer brand, and assist departing employees with a successful re-entrance into the workforce.
2. Always refer to your company’s HR policy
Many companies have set protocols regarding layoffs, resignations, and terminations outlined in their employee handbook. Always follow your company’s specific policies. If you are part of a small business or startup without a robust handbook, lean on your mission statement and company values to guide your efforts.
Your company policies should, of course, fall in line with current local and federal mandates. Check for updated federal, state, and local rules and regulations to make sure your HR offboarding policy is up to date. For instance, COVID-19 caused many states to amend their WARN Act laws. Ensuring your HR policy gets updated consistently can help your company avoid potential legal, financial, and reputational ramifications.
3. Recover digital and physical company property
With every employee departure, collect and sign off on all required digital and physical company property: employee badges, parking permits, and physical documents, to name a few. Also, restrict employee-related accounts and shared access to company information (e.g., work email address, access to the company email server, office Slack channel, company-sensitive digital information, etc.).
4. Provide severance packages and transition information
If applicable, inform the departing employee of severance pay benefits. Also, make sure to notify transitioning employees of government-provided benefits such as COBRA and unemployment insurance. For more information on what severance packages should include and how to offer them, download INTOO’s Complete Severance Package Guide.
5. Offer outplacement resources to help employees transition successfully
To support departing employees and boost employer brand, companies can incorporate outplacement resources in employee severance packages. Such services can include (but are not limited to) career coaching, resume and cover letter writing and tools, job interview practice, and networking and personal branding tips. What was once a service only reserved for senior management now is often provided to employees at all levels.
Providing outplacement services can help leave a lasting positive impression and even make departing employees stronger brand ambassadors—potentially helping in recruitment efforts. In fact, 51% of job seekers learn about a company’s brand from former employees, according to INTOO’s Employer Branding Study.
6. Get employee feedback
Exit interviews can provide key insights into employee retention and turnover, as well as ensure the departing employee feels heard and valued. Arrange some form of an exit interview with the transitioning employee, especially if the worker is leaving the organization voluntarily. This could be in traditional interview format, whether in person or over the phone. It could also be a survey or questionnaire. Incorporating this step on your offboarding checklist can lead to impactful company change and even help decrease employee turnover.
Company layoffs may be needed for a variety of reasons—sometimes with just a few days’ notice—which makes it essential for HR professionals to have an effective offboarding checklist before the need arises. It’s imperative for companies to practice compassionate layoff practices to protect company culture and long-term employer brand.
INTOO Outplacement helps organizations create a smooth and compassionate offboarding process by providing effective virtual outplacement programs that help outgoing employees find new jobs faster. Find out how our outplacement services can benefit your company. INTOO’s outplacement program helps employees transition to new jobs through unlimited one-on-one, on-demand coaching from premier career counselors, resume reviews, and other career services. Learn more about how our outplacement program can benefit your company when you’re transitioning employees.
INTOO staff writers come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience writing about topics that matter to the HR and business communities, including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more.