The Aberdeen survey shows that only 29% companies developed procedures to handle offboarding (departure of an employee), while ending your working relationship on good terms may be beneficial. All in all, word-of-mouth still works and personal recommendations remain convincing.
– The most frequent reasons for leaving a company include: unfulfilled financial expectations, unaligned company culture, poor atmosphere between team members and lack of stabilization. However, getting fired is undoubtedly a much more uncomfortable scenario. As the Holmes and Rahe stress scale shows, losing a job is one of the most stressful life events. That is exactly why the offboarding process should be planned in detail – say Marta Kamińska from Solutions.Rent.
When conducted properly, offboarding consists of six stages.
Offboarding – step 1: conversation
Having a conversation with the employee and delivering their termination notice should precede the dismissal. You should try to maintain a peaceful atmosphere during the meeting, even though it is impossible in some cases due to strong emotions. It would be a good solution to settle the formal aspects of dismissal during this conversation, such as:
– the number of leave days for an employee and agreeing upon whether the employee should use them or receive a monetary equivalent from the employer;
– deciding whether the employee is released from the duty to provide work.
If it’s your responsibility to dismiss the employee, consider inviting one more person for the meeting to act as a witness. It may be an employee from the HR Department. Never dismiss employees via telephone or an e-mail.
Offboarding – step 2: communicate change
Offboarding is usually focused on the person who changes their job. But the team members and the remaining employees play an equally important part as well. Their help during the transition period will be invaluable since they will assume the responsibilities of the dismissed employee until a new person is hired. Therefore, failure to share this information quickly or avoiding it is not a good solution in this case.
The team should be informed about the reason for their colleague changing jobs, contract end date, the responsibilities that need to be taken over and the official date of the employee’s departure. The more information you share, the better. Anything that remains unsaid may spark off gossip.
Offboarding – step 3: transfer of responsibilities
Transfer of responsibilities is crucial for the company to function properly. To a huge extent, it depends on the employee who leaves. Therefore, it would be reasonable to ensure a good atmosphere, as it allows the whole process to progress more smoothly. You can also prepare so-called “to do” checklists, which will make it easier for the new person to take over their new responsibilities. These should include:
– a description of the projects in the pipeline,
– a list of pending tasks,
– details of contact persons,
– documents and tools used by the employee or administrative authorizations.
Offboarding – step 4: individual interview
When an employee leaves their job, you should have a so-called exit interview with them. It is a summarizing conversation, which provides the company with valuable feedback about its organization and allows to introduce changes in the future. The meeting should be held by an employee from the HR Department or a person from an external company. During the conversation, don’t forget to ask about:
– the reason for leaving;
– level of satisfaction related to the job, conditions and benefits;
– relations with co-workers;
– the company’s culture;
– the company’s policy.
If there is no option to have this conversation with the employee face-to-face, send them an online questionnaire.
Offboarding – step 5: last day at work
The last day at work should be organized equally well as the first day at work. In order to achieve that, the person in charge of the offboarding process, as well as the employee can use a checklist. It should include:
– returning any electronic equipment and company car,
– returning company keys or access cards,
– transferring documents or access to them,
– collecting all personal items.
Organize a farewell meeting for the person who leaves. It will make the employee feel that they were an important part of the company and secure positive memories. A small farewell gift or a card with signatures of all co-workers would also be nice.
Don’t forget to thank the employee for their cooperation, involvement and energy invested in the development of the company. Consider providing the employee with a commendation letter as well. The entire team can see how the offboarding process is executed and draw conclusions about the company’s culture on this basis.
It is also important to delete the e-mail address of the former employee, to remove them from the company discussion groups and project management platforms, as well as to report benefit cancellation. Remember to share this information with the employee first so that they are not surprised. Otherwise, their reaction might be negative.
Offboarding – step 6: keeping in touch
As they say: “the end is more important than the beginning”. At the employee’s departure, offer them to keep in touch. It is important for the employer’s image. Don’t forget that your former employee is your brand’s ambassador.
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