Why Does Getting Offboarding Right Matter?



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You have a slick process to follow that ensures your new recruits enjoy a standardised welcome to your organisation. But what about when they leave?

When you welcome a new recruit into your organisation, there’s a process that kicks in and works like clockwork. By the end of it, your new recruits have their ID passes. They’ve been enrolled onto the HR system (we can help with the HR software). They have a clear understanding of everything from the culture to the quality standards to the social events at their new workplace.

Of course, all of this only happens because you invested time and effort in developing and refining and onboarding process. So how come that is far less likely to happen at the other end of the employee relationship?

What is employee offboarding?

If onboarding is preparing the employee for life within your organisation, offboarding is about preparing employer and employee for their departure in a structured way. The final four words of that previous sentence are what really counts.

Just as with onboarding, the specifics may vary, but an offboarding process is likely to include:

  • An exit interview
  • The return of office property
  • The completion of essential paperwork (like surrendering the car park permit or signing an NDA)
  • Informing the team
  • Assigning the individual’s duties to others

What’s the problem with getting offboarding wrong?

The lack of an offboarding process can mean that things that need to happen don’t. Research from the US suggests around 1 in 4 organisations don’t conduct exit interviews, never mind operate a joined up offboarding programme. There’s no reason to think the position is any better in the UK.

It can also mean that the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted, but in a non-standardized, haphazard way. This too can lead to problems.

Forget to ask a departing employee to sign an NDA and the implications may be serious. But a confused and patchwork offboarding process doesn’t have to risk legal or commercial fallout to create problems. Your ex-employees are ambassadors for your business. If the last thing they remember of their experience with you was disorganised and underwhelming—and if they discover someone else’s experience was better—their recommendation is likely to be underwhelming too.

Why does offboarding matter?

1. Data security

Whether your employee is leaving under a cloud or with a spring in their step, it’s vital to shut off their access to your IT systems to ensure you meet your data compliance requirements.

2. Physical security

Passes and keys need to be returned so you retain complete control over who has access to the building and/or parts of it.

3. Employee retention

This employee is leaving, but the ideal scenario would be to use their experience to make your other employees less likely to follow suit. When hiring is challenging and induction and development costly, it can pay to keep experienced staff onside.

A departing employee doesn’t have to be honest in their exit interview, but most interviews will reveal some valuable nuggets.

4. Recruitment

More and more recent retirees are finding that the cost-of-living crisis is nudging them back to the workspace. If you want to take advantage of their skills, you’ll want to ensure they leave your company on good terms. Then, when you want to invite them back, they’re more likely to say yes.

5. Reputation

Review sites like Glassdoor and social media provide a window into your business. You could argue that a leaving employee who leaves a glowing review is the best recommendation of all, and a clear offboarding structure increases the chances of that happening.

Make offboarding easier

Our HR software links seamlessly with our payroll tools, making organised, seamless offboarding much, much easier.

Discover how much easier. Book a CintraHR demo.

Picture of Chloe Walker
Chloe Walker
Chloe is Head of Marketing at the PSSG, leading the team across all our brands with her highly analytical, strategic and creative skill set. Outside of work, she loves spending time outdoors, running and cycling!