There is a lot of discussion in HR about the importance of onboarding in the employee lifecycle. Time and time again research has proven that most people decide whether they will stay or leave the company during the first 90 days in a role. This means that the more a company nurtures the employee during onboarding, the better chances they have for longer retention rates.
Everyone wants employees who will stick for longer, so they invest most of their money in things like good benefits and engagement tools. Most, however, prefer not to think of what happens when employees choose to leave or are let go, as those are no longer an asset to the company. This is why many businesses don’t consider making something as simple as an employee exit checklist. In fact, as reported by Aberdeen research, only 29% of organizations have an offboarding process in place. This approach to employee offboarding is hurting companies.
Why You Should Have An Employee Exit Checklist
Onboarding and offboarding employees are two completely different stages in the employee lifecycle, and therefore, have different approaches. The onboarding looks at welcoming the employee into the company with open arms, integrating them into the culture as fast as possible, and getting them up to speed so that they can hit the ground running. All of this makes sure that the employee doesn’t change their mind and decide to go with another offer instead.
The offboarding process has other factors to consider. As this employee has opted to leave or was forced out, there is no longer the need to please them. However, companies shouldn’t shut that door completely.
By listening to feedback from the offboarding process, you can keep a close relationship with star employees, should they choose to return. This feedback can also help you make valuable improvements. More importantly, employee offboarding procedures will help you prevent data leaks and possible legal threats, as well as ensure a smooth transition for the new hires.
Offboarding Best Practices You Should Adopt
1. Don’t Delay The News
Firing someone is never easy, even if you have a lot of practice doing so. In cases where the employee is choosing to leave, saying goodbye after a long time can also be challenging. However, for your company to feel stable, everybody needs to know when change is happening, as soon as possible. Otherwise, rumors can lead to all kinds of messy situations. Team members may fear for their own jobs or even the state of the company, and the person being let go can turn people against the business.
Communicate with your staff and departed employees as clearly as possible, be direct and provide a reason for leaving, if necessary. Don’t forget to wish them well, even if they’re not leaving under the best circumstances.
2. Get The Proper Paperwork
No one likes to read and sign a mountain of paperwork, but if we want to make sure that no legal demons come back to haunt the company, this should be a top priority in your employee exit checklist. First and foremost, prepare a letter of termination (or resignation), so there are no doubts about the date the employee finished their work, and the reason.
Then, there are things such as non-compete and non-disclosure, if relevant to your company, and paperwork indicating the benefits the employee will continue to receive after they leave. A good ATS software can help you track all of this, to make sure it all gets signed and is safe in one place as a digital copy as well.
3. Ask For Their Feedback and Insights
This is also referred to as an “exit interview.” Often, since the employee has nothing to lose in this case, they will offer an honest critique of your company, which can help you address important issues. In fact, research has proven that successful feedback retrieved from offboarding employees has helped 26% of organizations identify problems and improve retention, while 23% of them managed to understand the reason for resignation and 20% used it to improve their culture.
You can ask the employee who is leaving questions about their relationship with their manager, about the resources provided to them while working, if they would recommend the company to a friend, what would have convinced them to stay and what should be improved. It’s important to ensure the answers will remain anonymous and try to let an impartial person conduct this interview.
4. Prepare A Knowlege Document
Another top priority in your employee exit checklist should be to make sure that the knowledge that person has acquired in their role does not leave along with them. As soon as you’ve told them you will let them go (or they’ve given their notice), start creating a document with the data needed to perform their job.
Ask them all of the login details to different software and compile a list of important files and people they contact on a regular basis. Make sure they let you know what their daily routine is and what their main projects are — ask them to break everything down to the smallest tasks.
5. Retrieve Company Assets
What are company assets? First, there are physical assets, such as keys, access cards, computers/laptops, and mobile phones. Then, there are digital assets, such as data about the organization found on the employee’s personal devices, as well as employee portal, access to corporate email, and different corporate accounts (Slack, MailChimp, Instagram, etc.).
You may have had the most trusting relationship with the departing employee, but you can never know when things may turn. Or even, if your employee’s devices are to be hacked and used by other people. For that reason, you should make sure that everything is retrieved, erased and passwords are replaced.
Offboarding employees shouldn’t be a terrible experience that both sides dread, as long as there’s a process in place, which is done respectfully and efficiently.