A Look at the Employee Offboarding Process in 7 Steps

Employee Offboarding Hero

Zero employee turnover is an impractical aspiration. It’s unavoidable for employees to leave a company because of retirement, internal transfer, or resignation. When that time comes, you need a comprehensive offboarding checklist in place to facilitate a smooth offboarding process.

In this post, we’ll look at what employee offboarding is and why it’s important. We’ll then provide the steps for an ideal offboarding process. Finally, we’ll demonstrate how you can automate most manual offboarding tasks with an automation platform like Workato.

What Is Employee Offboarding?

The opposite of the onboarding process, employee offboarding is the final stage that completes the employee life cycle. It’s the process of ending the employer-employee relationship gracefully.

Employee offboarding can occur due to voluntary or involuntary turnover. Employees may voluntarily want to move to another organization for reasons such as the need for a higher salary, a healthier work-life balance, more recognition, career advancement, change of work environment, or relocation. Others leave involuntarily due to an organization’s need to reduce their workforce or a work assignment ending.

Why Is Employee Offboarding Important?

Employee offboarding is critical for various reasons.

  • It makes transitions smooth and efficient for the departing employee and the organization as a whole.
  • It allows you to collect important information from the departing employee to help you understand why they left and what you can improve on.
  • It ensures compliance with employment regulations to avoid wrongful termination claims.
  • A positive offboarding experience helps create long-lasting impressions of professionalism and can encourage employee advocacy even when they leave the company.

The offboarding process should be facilitated by a comprehensive checklist. An offboarding checklist ensures that offboarding is standardized for all employees. Additionally, it should help the organization avoid common offboarding mistakes.

An Overview of the Offboarding Process and Checklist

Offboarding should help the employee move forward and transition into their new job. A proper employee offboarding checklist should contain the following seven steps.

1. Communicate the Departure

In the case of involuntary separation, your human resources (HR) and legal teams discuss the decision to terminate the departing employee. During this consultation, they must ensure the termination complies with the relevant laws in the jurisdiction and is consistent with company policies.

If the termination is involuntary, communicate to the employee the organization’s rationale for terminating their employment before informing the rest of the organization. It’s critical you document any warnings, policy violations, or performance issues about the employee.

If the separation is voluntary, let the rest of the organization know of the employee’s departure. Understand the reasons for the exit and plan to correct emerging management mistakes or concerns with the work culture or day-to-day processes.

2. Ensure Knowledge Transfer

Your employee transition plan should document the employee’s day-to-day responsibilities and status of current projects. The information on what assignments are done and not done is transferred to the successor. Additionally, the departing employee must provide access to all the company files and systems, as well provide information about any parties they work with outside the organization.

You want to retain the departing employee’s expertise within the organization and minimize the impact of their departure. It’s a good idea to request that departing employees share any tips that their successor can use to accomplish tasks effectively.

3. Recover Company Assets

Assets, both hardware and software, contain critical company information. You need to retrieve these assets from the departing employee to maintain the security of company resources. This involves collecting devices such as tablets, mobile phones, laptops, and peripheral devices such as chargers, mice, and keyboards in person or through mailing. Also, access badges, keys, and credit cards should be collected to prevent unauthorized access and expenditure.

Once you’ve received all items, ensure they’re in good working condition and note any misuse or damages.

4. Revoke System Access

Deprovisioning is part of employee life cycle management. It involves taking away access rights of the departing employee to network infrastructure, applications, and systems. You need to notify the IT department of the termination, and they should revoke the employee’s access.

After recovering devices, you must deactivate all accounts the departing employee uses to access the company assets and software. You should also revoke access to company databases. Ensure the employee no longer has access to the client database, sales database, customer relationship management (CRM) system, social media account, and employee portal.

By preventing unauthorized access to company systems, you protect the company against data security breaches and communication blunders that may occur if the departing employee misuses those accounts intentionally or unintentionally.

5. Process Outstanding Payments

Employees are entitled to severance payment after employment termination. However, this depends on the laws and regulations of a country/state and company policies. Coordinate with the legal department and speak with a compensation consultant to determine if the employee is entitled to severance.

Severance includes benefits and allowances earned while in employment. The final payment package may include retirement benefits, accrued salary, paid time off (PTO), commissions, outplacement benefits, and bonuses. Once you alert the payroll department of the termination, they should prepare the final payment.

6. Conduct Exit Interviews

Exit interviews allow an organization to identify areas for improving employee experience. These interviews can be done in person, virtually, or by completing an exit survey. If the termination is voluntary, an exit interview can be face to face and will give you meaningful insights into why the employee decided to leave. While departing employees may not be willing to share negative feedback, there are ways around it. You can interview through telephone to remove the face-to-face component and encourage the employee to open up.

Insights from the data you collect from exit interviews can guide you in adjusting the work environment and reducing employee turnover. 

7. Update the Employee Database and Organization Chart

Once you’ve successfully offboarded the employee, change the employee status in the employee database to reflect the termination. This ensures compliance with legal requirements and ensures your records are up to date. Also, update the organization chart with the relevant  changes to organizational structure.

Automate Your Offboarding Checklist

Employee offboarding can be challenging for both the employee and the employer. The HR, IT, facility management, and legal departments have to collaborate and perform tedious offboarding tasks. Manual workflows are often slow and inefficient. Yet you need to remove departing employees from your systems quickly to avoid security threats such as exposure of company data to third parties. Automating routine processes saves time and allows other employees to allocate more time to business-critical tasks.

Workato allows you to create offboarding workflows and triggers to help you better manage the offboarding process. It integrates with applications such as BambooHR and other systems, including communication software like Slack, to help you coordinate with the entire offboarding team efficiently by sending alerts and reminders. With Workato, you can automate various offboarding workflows. Here are just a few examples:

  • With a human resources information system (HRIS) such as Workday, you can use Workato to create an automated employee offboarding workflow. Once you mark an employee’s termination on Workday, you can create a deprovisioning ticket in an ITSM application like ServiceNow or Jira Service Desk that removes the employee’s user account in Active Directory on their last day.
  • You can then create another ticket and use a platform like SentinelOne to virtually brick devices in the departing employee’s possession by revoking user access. This prevents the employee from connecting to the company network or using a USB port for file transfer or connectivity.
  • You can use a monitoring tool integration such as Pingdom, Datadog, or New Relic to monitor suspicious downloads in Box. Workato automatically alerts the downloader’s manager in Workday so they can approve or revoke the employee’s access to the Box files.
  • Using Workato, you can also automatically trigger equipment deprovisioning requests in ServiceNow.
  • Workato allows you to automatically initiate exit interviews instead of having your team scheduling them manually.
  • Workato facilitates payroll automation as well. You can create a workflow that deactivates a terminated employee’s profile from HRIS.

Final Thoughts

Offboarding includes all processes and procedures that an employee undergoes when leaving a company. It’s a demanding process that you should approach with an organized plan. This includes following an offboarding checklist to facilitate a smooth transition. The good news is, with Workato, you can automate the bulk of it, freeing your HR team up to focus on more important aspects like smoothing transitions and ensuring positive departure experiences.

Connect with our automation experts to prepare a demo for employee offboarding.

This post was written by Caroline Wanjiru. Caroline is a software developer and a technical writer. In her work, she has developed interests and worked on many machine learning and artificial intelligence projects.