6 Best Practices For Offboarding: Goodbyes To Benefit Your Business

How To Create Effective Employee Offboarding

You’ve probably read time and again about onboarding best practices. Which makes perfect sense. Employee onboarding is essential for newcomers. It helps them familiarize themselves with company procedures and feel at ease.

But what about employee offboarding? Most companies have a standard procedure for existing employees. It mostly involves paperwork and focuses on minimizing the risk of legal or security issues. And that’s the end of it.

But if you put in a little extra effort, staff offboarding comes with multiple benefits. Like the opportunity to gather feedback, which you can use to improve your workplace and prevent employee turnover. At the same time, you honor and support the people that have contributed to your company’s success.

Are you curious to find out more? Here are 6 employee-offboarding best practices that can make all the difference for your business:

1. Gather Insight

An exit interview is an indispensable part of the employee offboarding process. Alternatively, you can carry out a termination of employment survey. Many employees may be hesitant to express their opinion while they’re still with the company. They might want to avoid conflict or feel like there’s no point. An exit interview is your best chance to gather honest feedback.

Try to be open to any criticism you receive. Be prepared to hear about situations that you didn’t know were going on, and some you won’t be happy about. After all, this is the whole point behind this procedure. You are not looking for pleasantries, but to identify problem areas. It’s the only way to resolve workplace issues, and better retain employees in the future.

With that in mind, don’t focus only on why the employee is leaving. Instead, ask for suggestions on how you can create a better, inspiring working environment.

In any case, it’s best to leave the exit interview to the HR department. They’re trained for situations like this. Besides, a leaving team member is more likely to open up to an HR employee than their former manager.

2. Retrieve Company Assets And Revoke Digital Access

Retrieving company assets from offboarding employees is not optional. As much as you trust your employees, you can’t leave the office keys with them. It’s just not good sense.

Other items you might need to collect are laptops, mobile phones, access cards, ID badges, etc. In some cases, even company cars or corporate credit cards.

To make sure you don’t forget anything, keep a list and track all the company assets you’ve given employees. A simple spreadsheet will do. Or you can use asset management software if your company is large.

You also can’t risk any sensitive information or data leaving your company along with the departing employee.

To that end, you need to revoke access to all their digital accounts, such as the company email and workplace communication platforms.

3. Start The Knowledge Transfer Process Early

Knowledge transfer is another task to check off your employee offboarding checklist. Finding a replacement for a departing team member can take a while. In the meantime, employee productivity takes a serious hit.

That’s why it’s good practice to be proactive. Don’t wait until team members depart to start the knowledge transfer process. Instead, make it part of their ongoing work responsibilities.

Experienced staff members have a vast knowledge that goes beyond formal procedures and everyday tasks. Get them to add their unique knowledge into an LMS like TalentLMS. This way, when it’s time for them to say goodbye, they’ve already done the bulk of the work. And all their knowledge is safe in the LMS, ready for their replacement to study.

While looking for a replacement, make sure the departing team member has thoroughly documented their tasks and responsibilities. Everybody needs a cheat sheet during their first days at work, right?

Oh, and if you can get them to train a new employee, all the better. They can give them valuable insights about your company culture and tips to make the transition smoother.

4. Say A Proper Goodbye

Before an employee leaves the company, show them once again that you appreciate their contribution and effort. Especially so if they have been with you for years.

So why not organize a farewell party or a lunch in their honor? The end of a successful collaboration is at the same time a new beginning. So these are two reasons that call for a celebration!

Another idea is to get everyone to write their wishes on a card. Or, better yet, funny memories. People tend to get emotional when they part ways. Sharing a good laugh is the best option to lift everyone’s spirits and ease the awkwardness.

5. End Things On A Good Note

It’s relatively easy to handle employees that leave on good terms. But how do you manage employee offboarding when a person leaves due to poor performance or conflict?

Even when this is the case, do your best to create a positive atmosphere. Point out the employee’s strengths instead of their weaknesses. If they have any unresolved conflicts with a coworker, try to help them make amends. You don’t want an employee leaving the company feeling wronged and bitter. Even if they keep their opinions to themselves.

And what if they don’t? A dissatisfied employee is likely to leave negative reviews on popular career communities, like Glassdoor. Which will not only cause serious damage to your reputation as an employer, it will also make candidates skeptical about joining your company.

A positive employee offboarding experience, on the other hand, can go a long way. An employee who’s exiting the company with a positive experience will do more than speak nicely of you.

They might refer a qualified replacement, or even return to the company when the time’s right. Rehiring former employees (the so-called boomerang employees) has numerous benefits. That’s why companies have become more open to the idea of returning employees. It’s a possibility you shouldn’t rule out, either.

6. Don’t Turn Your Back On Departing Employees

The single best way to show your existing employees your appreciation is to stay in touch and support them.

Alumni networks and LinkedIn groups are getting increasingly popular. They give former and current employees a place to share their news or seek advice and support. You can also use the alumni network to post job openings and get referrals.

Be sure to support the employees you have let go, as well. A recommendation letter is the least you can do for an employee that has always been diligent and eager to learn. You can also refer them for a position they are a good fit for. Or you can introduce them to people that may offer them a job in the future. Let them know that your door, too, will always be open.

A laid-off employee will also benefit from constructive feedback. Let them know what they need to work on to become more efficient and competitive. Go further than that and give them practical advice. For example, suggest courses or seminars they can attend to improve their skills. They’ll appreciate the guidance.


Your employees deserve a decent farewell as much as they deserved that warm welcome when they first arrived. Make employee offboarding a priority on your task list and turn an awkward goodbye into a memorable experience that benefits everyone.

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