How to effectively offboard your company’s employees

Work Wisdom

How to effectively offboard your company’s employees

In the post, “5 tips to properly resign from your job,” we talk about what an employee should do when they’re announcing their resignation. But that raises the question: Once an employee says they’re quitting, what should the company do?

Companies know employee perceptions matter. Many organizations are beginning to realize former employee perceptions matter as well. Former employees can still refer customers and candidates back to the company. But let’s face it, they’re only going to do that if the former employee had a good experience with the company. It doesn’t have to be a perfect experience, but it does need to be more positive than negative.

When former employees think back on their time with the company, one of the first memories they’ll have is how they were treated when they left the organization. Organizations should have a well-defined offboarding process that focuses on allowing employees to depart with respect while at the same time covering the company’s administrative needs.

If you’re involved in hiring or people management at your company, here are 6 activities to ensure an effective employee offboarding program.

1. Communicate the program. All the time. The process for leaving the company doesn’t have to be a secret. Employees are told how much notice they should provide. You should also explain what happens during the notice period.

2. Wish the employee well. Regardless of the reason the employee is leaving, wish the employee well. Even if the manager plans to celebrate the employee’s departure because he or she was a major thorn, the manager should wish the employee success in the new role.

3. Answer employee questions. Employees are going to have questions. If managers don’t know the answers, they should find out who can assist. Many times, human resources will be able to help with answers about final paychecks, insurance benefits and exit interviews.

4. Talk about transitions. Have a conversation with departing employees about the work and projects currently on their plate. Find out the status and priorities of each. It could also make some sense to ask employees who they feel would be able to take on each assignment and help with the transition.

5. Give the employee time to wrap up their work. Speaking of transitions, employees often have two roles during their notice period: doing the work they were hired to do, and training the person who will be doing their work until a replacement is hired. Recognize that employees will need to prioritize their final days with the company.

6. Leave the door open. Sometimes employees realize after they leave that their new employer isn’t what they expected. Or the company realizes it could use the former employee’s help on a part-time basis. Create a situation where it’s okay to work together again.

This list of “to-dos” can also be adapted for when a contractor or freelancer is wrapping up an engagement. The goal is to create a process that fulfills the company’s and employee’s needs. There’s no denying the needs are different, but it can be done cooperatively with some planning and good communication.

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