Most companies have an extensive onboarding process, but few are as confident when people leave the organization. And the truth is that people will leave even the best company over time, and having an employee offboarding plan to make that transition smooth is of the utmost importance.
While all organizations handle things differently, run down our checklist to see if you’re missing any of the essentials when a relationship with an employee ends.
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Why You Should Have an Offboarding Checklist
Offboarding an employee, depending on their position, can be a laborious process. Not bringing people fully out can result in account problems for SaaS programs, general data bloat, or even security issues in extreme cases.
Having everything organized into one cohesive process can be a game-changer. It’ll make everyone involved’s life easier.
In short: you spend time developing ways to bring people on to your team, so you should also spend the time to make sure they leave the team as well.
1. Communicate With Your Employee
The first part of a clean offboarding process is talking to your employee.
Help them decide when and where they’d like to announce their departure. In doing so you’ll be able to avoid troublesome gossip or rumors that may spread around the office in the right circumstances.
How this turns out will largely depend on the office culture your organization has created, but making sure that all lines of communication are both clear and accurate is essential for a clean break.
2. Plan for Information Transfer
If you’ve managed to find a replacement before an employee leaves, you should have the two meet. This may be some formal training as an employee begins to leave, or it may just be a casual conversation to give the new employee a heads up.
Ideally, the new hire will be able to jump right in, with as little disruption in efficiency as possible. That’s the ultimate goal here, but even a few tips can make a huge difference in getting the newbie up to speed.
Making this a formal part of your offboarding process can help the entire company by disrupting ongoing projects as little as possible.
There’s always going to be a bit of a rough patch as they switch spots, of course, but your goal here is to minimize it.
3. Recover Your Hardware
Laptops, mobile phones, and tablets are all assigned to employees frequently. They should be inventoried, and you need to make sure that they’re returned when an employee leaves.
This is a huge part of the checklist, particularly if the employee left under more heated circumstances.
In most organizations this isn’t just a matter of getting back expensive electronics, it also helps minimize security risks once the person has left. Company electronics out in the wild can cause problems, even if it doesn’t come from a former employee.
Just make sure all work equipment is returned, and if it isn’t then take stock of both the financial loss and what kind of security problems may occur.
Don’t overlook the little things. It’s very important to know what an employee has, and what they’ve returned when they leave!
4. Update Software/IT Permissions and Access
You’ll need to remove the employees access to all services, files, and other digital information when they’ve left.
If you’re not using a program to consolidate your SaaS programs and permissions, you’ll need to audit their past usage to find which accounts need to be turned off. If you’re using a SaaS manager such as OneTool, the process is often much simpler.
In the OneTool admin panel, you can easily revoke permissions to any user no longer on the team, with a simple click.
You may not just want to turn everything off at once. E-mail, in particular, may contain vital communications you don’t wish to miss. An automatic “out of office” reply and forwarding the e-mails to another employee is a good idea, leave it up for a couple of weeks just in case.
At the end of this, however, the former employee should no longer have access to any programs or information used with the company.
5. Time for an Exit Interview
The exit interview with an employee is more important than many think.
Some people simply send over a survey to get the employees impression upon leaving. This is a fine strategy in many cases, but you need to do something with the data.
Of course, you can also conduct a proper interview with HR. Make sure that you ask them about their position in the company, how they felt about their achievements there, and for any general suggestions.
Make it a formal part of the checklist. You may be surprised at how much data you can gather from a few exit interviews, and with careful question selection you may even be able to improve the company as a whole!
6. Consider Giving References
Of course, one of the things you’re responsible for when an employee leaves is deciding whether or not to recommend them to someone else.
There are two main trains of thought on this.
In the first, you can let your employee leave with a reference letter to use in the future. It makes things simple, and they won’t have to track you down later to get their letter. After all, references are a key part of getting hired.
Or, you may simply wait. You may end up receiving a call from their prospective employer and it’s up to you to handle that. Other times they may ask for a reference letter later, and it’s up to you on how to handle that.
This last part of the employee offboarding process is important but simple: you just need to know what you’ll say about your former employee if called in the future.
Keep It Simple and Secure!
Offboarding employees is never fun, but you can avoid most of the headaches by creating a checklist using the elements above. It’ll help make everyone’s life simpler, and you can nullify any security risks that may arise after separation.
The best ending is one which is to the mutual satisfaction of both parties, and an employee offboarding checklist can get you there!