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Offboarding: best practice

Offboarding is pretty much anything that happens once an employee has served notice, reached retirement, or has had their contract terminated, from conversations with management to the formal procedure which leads to the separation between employee and employer. 

The importance of delivering a good offboarding process is not to be underestimated. A poorly executed offboarding can quickly destroy the relationship between employer and employee and furthermore damage the employer brand or public image of the organization.  

International recruitment agency Robert Walters outlines the best practice for an offboarding process in 5 steps.  

1. Listen 

Upon being informed by an employee that they wish to leave the company, a manager should first and foremost listen. Let the employee express in their own words the reasons they wish to leave the company. This can be an extremely stressful and awkward moment for an employee, so maintaining a supportive and kind demeanor throughout is very important. Simply be quiet, show that you are listening, that you have properly received the information and respond thoughtfully – offering clear guidance on the employee’s options going forward.  

It is crucial to organize a follow-up meeting within the days of being informed of an employee’s wishes to resign. This meeting provides an opportunity for potential negotiations and to further discuss the employees’ feelings. 

2. Involve HR 

It is important to create a neutral environment. Introducing a third person into proceedings will alleviate any undue pressures being put on the employee having to explain exclusively to their hiring manager the reasons for their resignation. Getting a member of HR can help employees feel comfortable speaking up.   

3. Keep proceedings private 

Resignations are sensitive matters – they are usually not broadcast internally! There are cases where you do not wish for the other employees to be aware of someone’s desire to leave or to know any further details. So, in this situation, it is always good to have a line to follow to ensure a healthy working place and to keep gossip to a minimum.  

4. Be prepared 

Having something to offer, maybe a promotion or even a “leaving bonus” is crucial and can change everything. It can even make an employee want to stay on in the company, or at least leave with a positive feeling, keeping them motivated until the very end of their contract. It is also useful to be ready with a clear summary of the remaining tasks and deadlines for what needs to be done during the notice period so that everything can be finished properly. This will ensure a proper transfer to the new recruits or remaining team members. 

5. Leave your ego at the door 

Resignations shouldn’t be taken too personally; your employee will have good reason to leave. They might be simply taking a break or changing careers entirely. Even if they choose to work for your competitors, this can be a chance for you to gain insight into what they are doing better. This will allow you to improve in areas you may not have considered.  

Showing support for your soon-to-be former employee and maintaining a professional working relationship can prove vital for future dealings. Who knows, they might even become a boomerang employee and rejoin the company in the future!

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