Offboarding: A Comprehensive Guide

Most large organizations do a fairly good job when they onboard new hires and provide new employee orientation, but far fewer have processes that address offboarding.

As critical as onboarding, you need a similar passion to define how you offboard employees.

You can send out a generic thank-you letter to people leaving your company, but you can do a lot better to improve your offboarding process and, eventually, build a healthy workplace culture. While it’s essential to make your new employees feel appreciated and comfortable with your company culture, you should not stop showing appreciation and support the day they decide to leave you.


Why does offboarding matter?

It’s all about ending up things on a good note and maintaining a positive relationship with your past employees. The following are some of the benefits of having a sound offboarding process in place:

The boomerang effect

When an employee parts ways with your organization, a well-thought-out offboarding process will leave the door open in case they want to rejoin. Re-hires are often called boomerang employees. Since the competition for talent is getting fiercer, your offboarding process can help win back your former employees.

So, keep your doors open for high performers. If we look at the current trends and stats, HR professionals are more likely to hire boomerang employees. It’s a good practice to give high priority to boomerang job applicants who left your organization in good standing.

Pro Tip: Use an effective Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to keep track of your current and former employees.

Former employees are your brand ambassadors

Your past employees’ opinions matter. How do your ex-employees think or talk about your organization online or off? Obviously, you want them to spread the good word about your company.

A study found that 52% of surveyed jobseekers go to social media or company websites when evaluating employer brands. What if most of your former employees had a bad offboarding experience, and they shared negative reviews on the web? Having negative remarks on your social media or employer review sites could be very damaging. This would make it really hard for you to attract new talent in the future.

The Solution? Treat your present and departing employees as your company’s employer brand. A good offboarding process will make your employees share positive reviews on various platforms for years to come. Moreover, keep in touch with them. For this, you must maintain a database to reach your ex-employees and share company news and job alerts.

Increased security

Organizations can’t afford security breaches or risk company or customer data leaks. Consequentially, one of the best ways to prevent security-related issues is to have a controlled offboarding process. As breaches cause significant damage to organizations, you need to shift from traditional perimeter defense to a holistic understanding of where your organization is exposed or what causes the damage.

According to a SANS report, one-third of all companies have experienced an insider threat incident. Therefore, if you want to protect your company against these kinds of threats, start crafting a proper offboarding process.

Tap into industry knowledge

Departing employees possess valuable industry knowledge that can benefit your organization. They may have insights, shortcuts, or information not found in standard operating procedures. That being said, involve departing talent in the process of finding suitable replacements and training them. Demonstrating confidence in their abilities and valuing their advice creates a positive offboarding experience.


Invest in outgoing employees for organizational benefit

While hiring the right talent is vital, it's equally important to invest in outgoing employees for organizational success.

Here's how:

Create a memorable offboarding experience

Design offboarding processes that support departing employees' needs and offer an opportunity to launch an alumni program. Avoid personalizing the departure and focus on creating a positive experience.

Leverage technology for connection

Use advanced HR software to stay connected with high-performing employees who have left your organization. Automation tools can send them future career opportunities and updates, increasing the chances of re-engaging former employees.

Preserve confidentiality in offboarding

Establish safe spaces during exit interviews to ensure confidentiality. Employees are more likely to share honest feedback when they feel their opinions are protected. Consider developing custom exit surveys for each position.

Add former employees to referral programs

A strong offboarding process can enhance your company's referral program. Therefore, you should focus on building good relationships with past employees, increasing the likelihood of them referring top candidates to your organization.

Implement employee offboarding automation

Automating the offboarding process from start to finish helps manage a talent pool of former employees who left on good terms. Nurturing this talent pool can reduce recruitment efforts in the future.

Pro Tip: Automate the offboarding process from start to finish using a platform like Wiggli.

When an employee decides to leave, view it as a learning experience. Engage in a conversation to understand their reasons and plans, uncovering valuable insights about your company's culture and workplace issues. Furthermore, express appreciation for their contributions and talent.


Final thoughts

On the whole, offboarding is just as important as onboarding. Regardless of the reason for an employee's departure, gather information that can help you improve in the future. Saying goodbye to an employee positively encourages them to speak highly of their experience working for your company.

Employee offboarding is a crucial part of the employee life cycle that is often overlooked. It's time to address this issue and realize that last impressions matter too.

When you give due attention to outgoing employees, you can distinguish your organization's value proposition and culture. Transform departing employees into advocates who promote your company.

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