Offboarding: The Art of Gracefully Parting Ways

Aug 21, 2017
min read

As an employee’s lifecycle at your company comes to an end, the last impression they leave with can be just as important as the first. However, unlike onboarding, companies often drop the ball when it comes to developing an offboarding process. They fail to realize that departing employees leave just as much of an impact as those coming in.

To help you manage the transition of different types of departures, here are a few offboarding tips to keep in mind:

1) The Voluntary Turnover

Regardless of why an employee chooses to leave, setting the foundation for a good post-employment relationship while ensuring their departure doesn't disrupt the balance of your team is just good business sense.

  • Conduct exit interviews to optimize your understanding of the company's strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement, and competitors from an employee's perspective. Ensure that responses will remain anonymous so that employees feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions.
  • Ease the transfer of knowledge to ensure that important information and processes do not leave with the employee. Start by determining who will receive the transfer, how you will transfer it, and along what timeline.
  • Engage them in an alumni network on LinkedIn where you can share company news, receive feedback, and encourage employee referrals. An open line of communication can leave the doors open for them to return later down the line.
Eight exit interview questions. One, why have you decided to leave? Two, what does your new company offer that led you to accept their offer? Three, what did you like the most and the least about your job? Four, were you comfortable talking to your manager about workplace issues? Five, what skills did you use most on the job? Six, were you given the resources and support your needed to do your job well? Seven, how well informed did you feel on what was happening in the company? Eight, would you recommend us to a friend looking for a job?

2) The Terminating Employee

While it’s never easy delivering bad news, learning how to gracefully terminate an employee can make the process a bit less painful on both ends.

  • Keep it simple and to-the-point. If you've been doing a good job at documenting their performance, it shouldn't come as a surprise and there is no need to provide a long explanation. Answer any questions about their last paycheck, collecting unemployment benefits, and health insurance.
  • Show compassion and empathize. Consider the best time and place to hold the meeting to avoid humiliating the employee and drawing attention to the situation. Keep in mind that it can also upset other employees who have built friendships with the employee and may even worry about being on the chopping block themselves.
  • Provide assistance only if and where possible , such as information on filing for unemployment and acquiring temporary health insurance. If an employee is being fired because of a layoff, offer to help with job placement or to provide a recommendation.

3) The Retiree

A loss of identity is common among retirees, and understandably so. Preparing your employees for the psychological impact it will have can make a world of a difference as they ease into their golden years.

  • Provide one-on-one coaching by meeting with them to talk about their plans once they leave. Help them find a sense of purpose beyond work by identifying how they can apply their interests and skills during retirement.
  • Offer a phased retirement approach, if feasible, where they have the option of working part-time or doing consultancy work after they leave to give them time to gradually transition out of the workforce.
  • Include them in building the future of the company. After many years of service, your retirees are sure to have valuable insight into the industry. Provide a platform for their voice where they can take part in decisions involving successors and organizational restructuring. And when the time comes, they can confidently leave behind their legacy of meaningful work.

And that's how you offboard. Wondering how to onboard? We have your back. Check out our onboarding page with top practices.

Topics in this article
About the Author
Soruby KirubhakaranSoruby Kirubhakaran

Soruby is a marketing intern at Humi. She looks forward to landing a job in HR after completing her degree.

Subscribe to Humi Blog
You can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy policy.

Subscribe to Think with Humi

Advice from Humi's leaders

Our newsletter is written by some of the brightest minds at Humi, with expertise in a wide range of topics: from customer experience to finance, and everything in between.

Not your typical content

We know that the world of business is constantly evolving – so you don’t need to be told the same advice you've been hearing for years. We keep things fresh and give you innovative ideas that come out of our experiences working at a startup.

Practical resources

We always try to provide a list of resources that we find useful. If a template or an article has helped us, it’s probably going to help you too.

Explore Topics