Employee Offboarding Checklist: What to Do When an Employee Resigns
Your company probably has a path it follows when onboarding new employees, but what do you do when an employee leaves? Just as it’s important to document procedures for onboarding employees, it’s necessary to have an employee offboarding checklist to best handle an employee's departure.
Not only will an offboarding process prepare your organization for a successful transition period, but it also gives your HR department a unique opportunity to gather feedback from the departing employee.
Learn more about offboarding employees and how to deal with employee resignation below.
What is Offboarding?
The term “offboarding” refers to transitioning an employee out of your company, regardless of the reason for their exit (e.g., resignation, termination, or layoff). Adhering to a standard offboarding process ensures you do not skip critical steps while maintaining business continuity.
A formalized employee offboarding process includes tasks such as ending the employee’s access to their company email account and transferring clients to someone else. It can also involve conducting an exit interview or survey to gain invaluable, honest feedback from departing staff. This type of input can help you improve upon elements of your workplace and reinforce what you’re doing right, such as offering competitive pay and workplace flexibility.
Sample Employee Offboarding Checklist
While you can’t always plan for an employee’s departure, you can plan for how you’ll spring into action when it’s time for a team member to leave. Getting organized now can save you from headaches down the line, as you’ll already know what needs to get done and who is responsible for executing those tasks.
Offboarding employees requires careful planning and some foresight. Use this sample employee offboarding checklist to get started.
- Identify who will take over the responsibilities of the departing employee. Determine who will take over for the employee – temporarily and permanently – after leaving. Potentially, the soon-to-be-former employee will need to cross-train co-workers and assist in this transition. As soon as possible, decide if you must hire a replacement, promote from within, or reallocate duties to fill in gaps.
- Prepare necessary documentation. Coordinate with accounting, legal, and HR to ensure the employee’s paperwork is squared away (e.g., terminate benefits, finalize contracts) ahead of their last day.
- Conduct an exit interview. Hold an exit interview with the employee to obtain insights into their day-to-day life and overall feelings about their role, including how they perceived their time spent at your company. If you'd want to re-hire the employee in the future, keep the exit interview positive and professional, as you don’t want to burn bridges.
- Communicate the departure and next steps with the team. An incredibly important element of the employee offboarding process is communicating the staffing change clearly to the team. Keep the communications straightforward and brief, and follow up with stakeholders directly. Include relevant information, such as the employee’s last day, any celebrations/goodbyes for them, and who may be directly affected (e.g., change in management or reports).
- Collect equipment and keys. Gather equipment from employees on their last day and notify them when and how you will do so. Deliver a list of what needs to be turned in so that no one is surprised. If the employee is remote and unable to turn in the equipment or keys in person, consider sending them a box or prepaid postage to return the equipment. You may need to allow remote employees to keep equipment until their last day and then set a timeframe for how quickly they must send their equipment back via mail.
- Remove access to building, software, clients, and documents. Revoke access to all confidential files, software, clients, and facilities upon the employee’s exit. Note, depending on the nature of the departure, this may need to be done sooner than later. For example, a terminated employee may need key cards and intranet access removed immediately, whereas an employee who resigned will typically still need access for two weeks.
Keep in mind that this list is very basic. Feel free to add items to your own employee offboarding checklist to fit your organization or industry’s needs.
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After you’ve successfully offboarded an employee, it's time to figure out what action to take next. In many cases, the next step involves hiring a replacement. For advice on how to attract the right talent to fill your newly vacant role, visit our Employer Resource Center.