In today’s highly competitive labour market, all the focus seems to be on recruitment and onboarding among growing organizations. It makes sense to exclusively concentrate efforts on hiring during a labour crisis, right? Not exactly!
As much as employers would love for new hires to become long-term, loyal workers that never leave their company, every employer should plan for inevitable turnover.
That’s where developing a robust and detailed offboarding process comes in. A methodical employee outprocessing strategy will work to your advantage in more ways than one. It will safeguard your business’ confidential data, ensure smooth workload transition, enhance company culture and provide you with valuable data to support future recruitment and talent retention.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the most essential steps to effective employee exit management. Continue reading to get insider offboarding tips!
Transfer job responsibilities when offboarding employees
When you onboard a new employee, you must establish their responsibilities and the tasks you expect them to complete. You should follow a similar process when offboarding employees. Why? Because your employee’s ongoing projects, daily responsibilities and even their correspondence need to be passed on to others.
The departing employee’s manager needs to determine exactly who will be taking ownership of their tasks once they’re gone. If you already have a new hire that will replace your exiting employee, then you should consider whether this person is adequately trained to take on a full workload yet. If not, some tasks will have to be divided between other members of your team during a transitional period.
Make sure you communicate this new delegation of tasks and responsibilities with your whole team so that they can prepare themselves, raise any concerns and understand that the changes will only be temporary.
Protect company equipment and data when outprocessing employees
For data security reasons, your human resources team must collaborate with your IT department to disable all the resigning employee’s tech access at the appropriate time.
If you don’t disable accounts in a timely manner, you become vulnerable to data theft. Not only is this a risk to your team, but it could also significantly harm projects and long-term operations in other areas of the company. If your company doesn’t have clear data protection and equipment recovery protocols in place when offboarding employees, talk to a manager in the IT department as soon as possible so that you know how to handle the situation securely.
This step is also relevant if you need to recover non-tech items from a departing employee. Items like uniforms, company badges and keys should be given back to the company to avoid other types of security risks.
Use the offboarding process to improve company culture
It might not be obvious, but how you offboard a departing employee can affect your entire workforce across your organization. Not to mention, your former employee might even become a competitor, a client or a supplier in the future. So, it’s in your best interest to make sure your corporate relationship with them ends on good terms.
Many employers don’t realize that the way they treat departing employees says a lot about company culture and how ongoing workers are valued. Your remaining team members will be paying close attention to your actions (they speak louder than words!).
For example, does the HR team offer a complimentary cake and departing speech on the employee’s last day? Not only is this a kind gesture as a way of thanking the offboarded employee and sending them off with a positive impression, but it shows the rest of the team that your company appreciates and respects their people.
By way of contrast, if no recognition is given and the employee completes their final 2 weeks with nothing but the added workload of training the new hire, it will send the message to other workers that their contributions aren’t appreciated. This may influence future productivity, engagement and even retention.
Former employees can also do a lot for your employer brand long after they leave your ranks, especially if you treat them well throughout the time they spend with you. They will likely talk about their experience working at your company, including their offboarding process. If they have good things to say, it strengthens your reputation as an excellent employer. This can in turn lead to top candidates seeking you out for job opportunities!
It’s also not out of the question for former employees to come back to a company where they enjoyed working and were treated with respect. If your departing employee has a positive offboarding experience, then they’re more likely to consider coming back to work for you again in the future. This is extremely valuable in the increasingly difficult job market where skilled candidates are hard to come by.
Conduct exit interviews for departing employees
The exit interview is an underappreciated tool that employers can use to gather information on internal processes, management and employee morale. It’s also fundamental in truly understanding why employees leave your company. When an employee is leaving their job, that’s when they are most willing to be truthful and transparent about their complaints within the company, so exit interviews are a must if you’re serious about getting the most value out of your offboarding process!
You might be wondering exactly what data you should get from someone in an exit interview. It all depends on what areas of your employee experience you want to monitor. Some obvious options are your employee’s experience with their manager, whether they had access to enough upskilling opportunities, how comfortable they felt with the company culture and whether their compensation package was right for their position. If you really want to dig deep and get some valuable insight, consider the following topics, too:
- Employee onboarding experience
- Perceived growth opportunities
- Access to the latest tech and equipment
- Job satisfaction
Make sure to ask the same questions to all departing employees. This way you’ll be able to compare exit interview results over time and understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve as an organization. If you ask each departing employee a different set of questions, it’ll be practically impossible to get useful data from your offboarding process.
While you should come up with a unique set of exit interview questions for your company, here are some example questions to help you get started (plus, find even more sample questions in our blog about conducting exit interviews):
- Why are you leaving your job at our company?
- How do you think your manager could improve?
- Do you have feedback for company management in general?
- Do you think your compensation package was fair and competitive?
- Do you think your onboarding process prepared you for the job?
- Did you have a healthy work/life balance at our company?
- Do you think the company helped you reach your career goals?
- Did you enjoy the work you did at our company?
- Would you recommend our company to others?
- What factors made you choose your new job at another company?
One more thing to remember with exit interviews is that they may become emotionally charged. This is not common, but if a departing employee feels they were wronged or had negative experiences while working at your company, things could get heated. It’s your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your human resources team is properly trained for these situations.
The bottom line on offboarding employees
Your offboarding process is key in understanding your staff, retaining top talent, improving your employee brand and securing company data and property. By taking employee offboarding seriously and leveraging tools like exit interviews, you’ll benefit your organization enormously in the long run. For more expert insider tips from the Adecco Canada team, check out our other popular blog posts!