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Offboarding process:
How to develop a structured and professional smart staff exit

When valued employees leave the company at their own request, enormous challenges arise. A well-structured offboarding process (or exit management) can make leaving the company much easier – and provide your company with valuable learning.

 Definition of onboarding: What is it actually? And why is it so important?

Offboarding has to do with a well-prepared and systematically planned exit of an employee from a company. You are probably familiar with onboarding; this process supports the induction and introduction of new team members into the company according to a fixed schedule.

While employers often pay a lot of attention to onboarding, offboarding is often neglected. Unfortunately, companies and organisations leave a lot of potential here. Because good offboarding is just as important as onboarding. This process helps employees to have a positive experience when leaving a company and to find a smooth transition to their next job. In addition, companies ensure that confidential information, documents and trade secrets of the company are protected. Therefore, companies should invest time and resources in developing a good offboarding process.

 What are the benefits of offboarding?

Offboarding helps in many ways – and is valuable for both companies and departing employees at the same time. This is because exit management is perhaps the last contact that both parties have together.

It now enables companies to distribute arising and open tasks to colleagues in the respective department, to reorganise internal workflows and to find clear communication in the alignment of tasks and workflows. On the other hand, a clever offboarding process promotes the image of a company and employer branding.

Advantages of offboarding for employees

✔ valuable feedback and appreciation for the work they have performed

✔ positive memories of the company (for possible cooperation in the future)

✔ relaxed entry into the new job

✔ Contact with an attractive employer whom they are glad to recommend

Advantages of offboarding for companies

✔ profitable feedback for further development

✔ create the basis for a trusting future in which paths may cross

✔ open questions about the exit as well as about tasks and workflows are clarified

✔ Company ownership is secured, litigation is avoided, losses are reduced

This is what you should look out for internally when dealing with offboarding

Employees do not always leave the company of their own free will or by mutual agreement. Personal differences with other employees of the department, lengthy negotiations without satisfactory results for both sides or compulsory redundancies on the part of the company are just a few of the many possible reasons that can lead to the departure of employees. An employee who has been terminated usually behaves differently than someone who voluntarily leaves the company (this is called staff resignation).

It is always a difficult situation for a company when employees decide to resign. On the one hand, it is understandable that the company wants to protect its interests, on the other hand, it is important to maintain a good relationship with the departing employee or employees (keyword: Rehiring). There are two levels on which companies can act when employees resign: the organisational level and the social level.

At the organisational level, it is important to know the person's area of responsibility and their network within the company. In this way, the company can redistribute the tasks, expect work equipment back and/or revoke access rights to the company's own systems.

On the social level, it is important to find out the reasons, for example, during an exit interview of the employee, for their resignation/termination. It is important as a company to take something from the feedback, to convey appreciation despite the termination and to leave as positive a final impression as possible. These steps help to strengthen the good relationship with departing employees even after leaving the company.

 

Offboarding checklist: These offboarding tasks should be taken into account

There are several steps your HR should take to develop a smart and professional offboarding process.

When a person leaves the company, it's important to have an open and honest exit interview with executives and HR leaders about why they are leaving. This can give valuable feedback to the company and also help employees make a smooth transition to the next job. During this exit interview, ask about the experiences that the employees have had with the company and the individual team members, about the reasons for the dismissal and about concrete suggestions for improvement. Honest feedback on the company's performance is also important. Explain the next steps in the offboarding process. And you may be committed to helping employees find a new and suitable job in the event of a pronounced dismissal. With open and honest communication, everyone can benefit from exit management. 

When a person leaves the company, it's important to have an open and honest exit interview with executives and HR leaders about why they are leaving. This can give valuable feedback to the company and also help employees make a smooth transition to the next job. During this exit interview, ask about the experiences that the employees have had with the company and the individual team members, about the reasons for the dismissal and about concrete suggestions for improvement. Honest feedback on the company's performance is also important. Explain the next steps in the offboarding process. And you may be committed to helping employees find a new and suitable job in the event of a pronounced dismissal. With open and honest communication, everyone can benefit from exit management. 



As soon as the date of departure of employees has been determined, some open questions must be clarified in the HR and accounting department. First of all, it is necessary to initiate important tax documents, pay slips, any severance payments and possible reimbursements. Along the same lines, the monthly transfer of salary payments should be stopped and outstanding holiday leave days or overtime must be processed by the accounting department.  


As soon as the date of departure of employees has been determined, some open questions must be clarified in the HR and accounting department. First of all, it is necessary to initiate important tax documents, pay slips, any severance payments and possible reimbursements. Along the same lines, the monthly transfer of salary payments should be stopped and outstanding holiday leave days or overtime must be processed by the accounting department.  


If your employee resigns, it is important to communicate the message transparently to colleagues. In this way, you prevent the spread of rumours and actively contribute to not polluting the working atmosphere. You should inform customers at a later date – you should first clarify with individual team members who will take over the tasks of the person leaving in the future. In this way, customers can be sure that they are still in good hands. These steps contribute significantly to a smooth transition. 

If your employee resigns, it is important to communicate the message transparently to colleagues. In this way, you prevent the spread of rumours and actively contribute to not polluting the working atmosphere. You should inform customers at a later date – you should first clarify with individual team members who will take over the tasks of the person leaving in the future. In this way, customers can be sure that they are still in good hands. These steps contribute significantly to a smooth transition. 


In addition to the loss of productivity, the loss of an employee can also lead to a decrease in morale among the remaining team members. Therefore, it is important that your HR department makes every effort to fill the position as quickly as possible. In the best case, the departing person can train their successor themselves and pass on their own knowledge. This not only contributes to a smooth transition, but also enables your company to benefit from the know-how of the employee(s) for as long as possible. But even if this is not possible, it is important to act quickly to avoid negative effects on your business. 

In addition to the loss of productivity, the loss of an employee can also lead to a decrease in morale among the remaining team members. Therefore, it is important that your HR department makes every effort to fill the position as quickly as possible. In the best case, the departing person can train their successor themselves and pass on their own knowledge. This not only contributes to a smooth transition, but also enables your company to benefit from the know-how of the employee(s) for as long as possible. But even if this is not possible, it is important to act quickly to avoid negative effects on your business. 


If an employee decides to leave your company, you should make sure that the respective tasks are recorded in writing or transferred to the team. This is best done by the management level, as they are familiar with day-to-day business and can identify which tasks are most important.  Not only are the tasks in day-to-day business relevant, but also the passing on of contacts, the status quo of current projects, project updates and much more. Through these measures, your company can minimise the disruption caused by the departure of employees and ensure smooth operations.  And if it is possible:  Ask the departing employees themselves to record this information.  This also contributes to a clean and relaxed exit. 

If an employee decides to leave your company, you should make sure that the respective tasks are recorded in writing or transferred to the team. This is best done by the management level, as they are familiar with day-to-day business and can identify which tasks are most important.  Not only are the tasks in day-to-day business relevant, but also the passing on of contacts, the status quo of current projects, project updates and much more. Through these measures, your company can minimise the disruption caused by the departure of employees and ensure smooth operations.  And if it is possible:  Ask the departing employees themselves to record this information.  This also contributes to a clean and relaxed exit. 


Companies should think about what happens to company data and company ownership at an early stage when employees leave the company. Therefore, you should set a clear separation process that regulates what access rights of the respective person are revoked when, whether passwords must be changed after leaving and when they lose access to their own e-mail inbox. The transfer of keys, technical (mobile) devices, the termination of licences of used software or other work utensils should also be discussed in the course of this process and determined internally. Determine this procedure in advance with the (retiring) employees so that no misunderstandings or false expectations arise on both sides. Furthermore, you can avoid later litigation.  

Companies should think about what happens to company data and company ownership at an early stage when employees leave the company. Therefore, you should set a clear separation process that regulates what access rights of the respective person are revoked when, whether passwords must be changed after leaving and when they lose access to their own e-mail inbox. The transfer of keys, technical (mobile) devices, the termination of licences of used software or other work utensils should also be discussed in the course of this process and determined internally. Determine this procedure in advance with the (retiring) employees so that no misunderstandings or false expectations arise on both sides. Furthermore, you can avoid later litigation.  


As an employer, you will certainly be asked to issue an employment reference for your employee. Be honest, but at the same time positive and supportive. After all, your former colleague or colleague counts. Your former colleague that you make it easier for them to get started in the new job. When writing an employment reference, make sure you focus on the person's strengths and achievements. List specific examples in which the person has engaged beyond their own duties. And above all, you wish your colleague all the best for their future career. If you take the time to write a meaningful and qualified job reference, you can help them get off to a good start in the new job.  

As an employer, you will certainly be asked to issue an employment reference for your employee. Be honest, but at the same time positive and supportive. After all, your former colleague or colleague counts. Your former colleague that you make it easier for them to get started in the new job. When writing an employment reference, make sure you focus on the person's strengths and achievements. List specific examples in which the person has engaged beyond their own duties. And above all, you wish your colleague all the best for their future career. If you take the time to write a meaningful and qualified job reference, you can help them get off to a good start in the new job.  


When employees leave your company, it is important that you share your appreciation for the work done with a farewell gift. It doesn't have to be an expensive or fancy gift; even a simple card or a small gift can express your gratitude very well. If you are also planning a farewell party, you should involve the departing employees in the planning. It is, after all, them who is bidding farewell. And if you get along well with the person, let them know that a return is possible at any time in case the new job plans don't work out. Overcome your pride and don't say goodbye personally – satisfied former employees are figureheads for your company

When employees leave your company, it is important that you share your appreciation for the work done with a farewell gift. It doesn't have to be an expensive or fancy gift; even a simple card or a small gift can express your gratitude very well. If you are also planning a farewell party, you should involve the departing employees in the planning. It is, after all, them who is bidding farewell. And if you get along well with the person, let them know that a return is possible at any time in case the new job plans don't work out. Overcome your pride and don't say goodbye personally – satisfied former employees are figureheads for your company


If you part ways with an employee as a partner, it may be worthwhile to stay in touch with them via LinkedIn or other career platforms. This allows you to keep up to date with the respective professional career path and career progress. This information can be very helpful when hiring new colleagues to find out what career paths are possible afterwards. If a former employee has risen and been successful in their own career, you can ask for a (positive) review on employer review platforms. Furthermore, it is always worthwhile to approach former employees when hiring new colleagues. Understand it as a success story, as it is also used in marketing: The best reference is still customers (or in this case former employees). In addition, the valuable insight can help you understand how candidates tick and what expectations you have of your corporate culture. 

If you part ways with an employee as a partner, it may be worthwhile to stay in touch with them via LinkedIn or other career platforms. This allows you to keep up to date with the respective professional career path and career progress. This information can be very helpful when hiring new colleagues to find out what career paths are possible afterwards. If a former employee has risen and been successful in their own career, you can ask for a (positive) review on employer review platforms. Furthermore, it is always worthwhile to approach former employees when hiring new colleagues. Understand it as a success story, as it is also used in marketing: The best reference is still customers (or in this case former employees). In addition, the valuable insight can help you understand how candidates tick and what expectations you have of your corporate culture. 


Offboarding process: A task not only for the HR department

In today's competitive job market, evaluations and appraisals are important factors that many potential employees consider when choosing a company. Therefore, maintaining good relationships with former employees can ultimately help you attract new talent to your company.

In order to actually benefit from these in the end, you should establish a long-term and well-thought-out offboarding process in your company. A checklist for the departure of employees is essential for the long-term success of the company.

An offboarding checklist not only supports you in building a valued employer brand, but also minimises unpleasant challenges when leaving and strengthens the cohesion of your employees in your company.

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