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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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What Is Offboarding?

The definition of offboarding is the process of formally separating an employee from the organization they work for, as a result of the employee’s resignation, termination, or retirement. 

The purpose of offboarding is to protect the interests of both the employer and departing employee while smoothing the transition. 

A thorough offboarding process has many steps. It includes all of the policies and procedures that need to be followed so there are no loose ends after the employee leaves.

What Are the Benefits of Offboarding?

A well-designed offboarding process helps employers in several ways, including:

  • Preventing legal and security issues

  • Preserving essential knowledge from departing employees

  • Identifying needed improvements based on feedback from employee exit interviews

  • Maintaining positive relationships with former employees that may encourage them to return in the future

For employees, the benefits of good offboarding center on their employer providing information and assistance about such things as:

  • Paid time off balance

  • Final payment

  • Unemployment benefits

  • Company retirement account

  • Health insurance coverage options

  • Recommendations and letters of reference 

When an employee is leaving on good terms, the employer should include offboarding steps that help the departing worker feel appreciated for their contribution to the company’s success. For example, sincere recognition from the employee’s leaders and coworkers can go a long way toward fostering the positive continuing relationship mentioned above.

How Should You Conduct Offboarding?

Here is a step-by-step list of common offboarding procedures for managers and HR to follow. Some steps may not be relevant to your organization, so make adjustments as needed. 

  1. Tell the rest of your staff who is leaving and who will take over their responsibilities.

  2. Document the employee’s exit with a letter of resignation or termination.

  3. Have the departing worker give you a list of their projects and deadlines.

  4. Make sure they train their replacement or other employees who will assume their duties (have them do it in writing if they can’t do it in person).

  5. Collect all of their company equipment, such as a phone, laptop, and security badge.

  6. Change your company passwords or revoke their access to systems and accounts they use.

  7. Discuss any binding contracts, such as non-compete and non-disclosure agreements.

  8. Arrange their final paycheck and any severance pay, and then remove them from the payroll.

  9. Provide information about their benefits, such as a 401(k) retirement account or COBRA health insurance coverage.

  10. Provide a letter of reference to the employee if they request it and if it is permitted by company policy.

  11. Conduct an exit interview.

Well-designed offboarding software can help you through the process, saving time and effort while ensuring compliance and that all the details are taken care of. 

Remember, the better the offboarding experience is for your employees, the better their final impression of your company will be. That’s important since they will probably share their feelings about your organization on employer-review websites and by word of mouth.  

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