Top 5 Ways to Make The Employee Offboarding Process Smooth

According to CNBC, 4.3 million people left their jobs in January 2022, just grazing November’s record-setting numbers. The media calls it The Great Resignation, while others suggest the shift is a much-needed reshuffling of talent. No matter how you view the employment change-up, more workers are walking away than ever before, underscoring the importance of a well-organized employee offboarding strategy.  

One recent study revealed that 44% of employees are active job seekers, meaning the trend isn’t letting up anytime soon. Automating the process with workflow software is the best way to ensure consistency and completeness in the offboarding process.

Reasons Why a Strong Offboarding Process Is Necessary

Smart employee offboarding isn’t just a matter of efficiency and recordkeeping. It can have significant financial and security consequences too. According to TechRepublic, ex-employees are one of your “biggest cyberthreats,” with 48% of companies expressing high confidence that former staffers are still able to access the corporate network. For 2 out of 10 organizations, it can take up to a month or more to fully cut ties, meaning potentially disgruntled workers have power over vital systems well after their departure. 

In one instance, a resentful resigner deleted 20 gigabytes of credit union data in retaliation, delaying mortgage approvals and other important customer services. This incident underscores the hard truth: you need to be able to perform offboarding tasks swiftly. The following are 5 ways you can easy-button your employee offboarding process.

1. Create an Offboarding Checklist for HR

An electronic checklist can be part of the employee offboarding process for the HR department. Items on the checklist may include:

  • Obtaining the employee’s letter of resignation
  • Providing written acceptance of resignation letter
  • Scheduling employee to meet with HR for out-processing
  • Entering employee termination information into the HR database
  • Processing any outstanding employee expense reimbursement
  • Confirming employee doesn’t owe reimbursement of signing bonus or moving expenses
  • Determining whether an employee has any accrued leave they haven’t taken
  • Providing the employee with their own offboarding checklist

In addition to the tangibles, your workflow should also include steps to pave a smooth transition of expertise. Without clear processes in place, operations are often hamstrung in the wake of an exiting team member. Remaining employees need to sort through old emails and sift through shared drives to piece together how the offboarded staffer performed key duties. For employees leaving with due notice, you need to standardize what steps to perform in their final days or weeks to ensure teams are aptly up to speed. 

2. Create an Offboarding Checklist for the Employee

An electronic employee offboarding checklist as part of the offboarding workflow is also helpful. It may include items like:

  • Settling any petty cash advances or other unsettled accounts
  • Ensuring all critical records are labeled and organized for their successor
  • Removing personal items from the office, employee lockers, etc.
  • Returning keys, keycards, company credit cards, parking permits, etc.
  • If applicable, a completing conflict of interest statement
  • Gathering company-issued mobile devices and computer equipment
  • Providing a forwarding address 

These processes involve a tight link-up between HR and IT. A disconnection means tech teams aren’t always in the loop on employee departures. Even when they are informed, IT executives report that manual offboarding processes can take hours to perform, meaning it frequently gets kicked down the to-do list. 

Shadow IT also makes it challenging for IT to perform offboarding steps effectively. These are employees that use undisclosed apps or software to do their job, like a marketer who creates daily social media content on their preferred app of choice. This leaves IT completely in the dark. While most do not have malicious intentions, accidentally posting to an ex-employer’s account can have serious PR implications. A well-oiled offboarding system plugs these potential risks by documenting every system an employee has control over.

3. Review any Nondisclosure, Benefits, or Severance Packages with the Employee

If an employee signed a non-disclosure, non-compete, or confidentiality agreement, review the requirements of this agreement with the employee before they leave. Also, discuss any penalties that will apply if the agreement is breached. Ensure the employee is provided with copies, if not already having done so. These forms are often used so that company-confidential information is retained within the company and not shared with potential competitors.

Other documents may need to be reviewed, depending on the terms of the employee departure. Common severance package items include:

  • Remaining regular pay and/or additional pay for x amount of months
  • Stock options
  • Unused vacation time, sick or PTO
  • 401K and 403B
  • Re-employment assistance
  • Resume preparation assistance

4. Inventory Items Issued to the Employee

An electronic checklist is a critical part of the employee offboarding process as well. Items typically issued to employees may include ID badges, keys, keycards, parking passes, mobile devices, tools, and uniforms. Cards that generate one-time passwords for network access are sometimes issued and should be recovered to protect network security. Account for all these items before employee departure.

It’s especially time to up the ante on offboarding processes that involve remote workers. The shift to home office arrangements triggered a wild upshoot in the demand for devices. Gartner reports that in 2021, shipments for PC and tablets exceeded 500 million units for the first time in history—not something employers want to lose track of. Establish processes for how departing employees should return equipment, such as sending them a prepaid shipping label and ready-to-go packing materials. 

5. Conduct an Exit Interview

Exit interviews during offboarding give us important clues about work culture, processes, ethics, and morale. By allowing departing employees to discuss their perceptions and reasons for leaving, HR can monitor these responses and determine trends and patterns over time.

Exit interviews are not something to conduct in a vacuum: you need to create streamlined processes around feedback collection so you can take advantage of valuable insights. This can be done through the use of offboarding surveys. When common issues arise in these exit interview surveys,  it may be a good idea for the company to determine the cause of these issues.

During exit interviews, you can glean insight about competitive pay packages, vacation time, etc. It’s also helpful to know who is poaching your employee talent.

Common exit interview questions during the offboarding process may include:

  • When and why did you begin looking for a new job?
  • How would you rate the culture of our organization?
  • Were you given enough resources to do your job?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how intensive was your workload on an average day?
  • Did internal politics frequently impede your ability to do your job effectively?
  • Was responsibility well divided among your coworkers?

An effective offboarding strategy helps your team adapt to the growing trend of “boomerang employees,” or staffers that return after a short sabbatical with another company. LinkedIn reports an uptick in boomerangs—meaning your offboarding process can’t be a harsh breakup. 

Secondly, we rely on testimonials to guide more than restaurant choices: 57% of job candidates actively avoid companies with negative online reviews. A surprising 1 in 3 job seekers has declined an employment offer based on an unflattering review left by a disgruntled employee. This puts the onus on employers to make sure the offboarding process leaves a great last impression

Streamline the Offboarding Process with HR Automation 

Regardless of the circumstances, employee offboarding can be somewhat emotional. But it’s critical for companies to have a standard, comprehensive offboarding process that ensures all security risks have been addressed and that an audit trail of the employee’s exit is created in every case. Platforms like ProcessMaker are perfect for creating a custom employee offboarding workflow that improves security and prevents costly mistakes.

Learn more about our HR digital process automation platform. Offboarding is too important to trust to paper forms and spreadsheets. Using ProcessMaker, you can automate an employee offboarding process to fit your needs perfectly.

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