September 21 2022

What does an effective offboarding process look like?

Offboarding is one part of the employee life cycle that’s often ignored. But a well-managed, effective exit strategy is good for business because it can positively affect your bottom line. Here, we do a deep dive into what an effective offboarding process looks like, with practical tips on how to create one.

What is offboarding?

As the old saying goes, few things in life are certain. Death, taxes and….employee offboarding for that matter.

Employees leave. New hires don’t always work out. It may not be the first thing we think about when an employee starts a new role, but it’s a fact of working life.

We’re not going to go into details here about what offboarding is and why it matters. But, even when you understand just how important offboarding is for your business, you’re probably wondering what an effective offboarding process looks like. 

You already have an offboarding process – but is it effective?

If you’ve ever had an employee leave, then you already have an offboarding process. But the big question is, is it working?

Employee separation from a company is a certainty, yet it’s given very little attention by most businesses. According to research from Aberdeen Strategy & Research, only 29% of companies have an exit strategy in place

Without an exit strategy, many companies just let this process run organically. This haphazard exit strategy can lead to lost hiring opportunities at best, and serious data breaches at worst. 

What does an effective offboarding process look like?

7 tips for your offboarding process checklist

An offboarding checklist is a valuable tool for ensuring your strategy is as effective as possible. 

Your process will vary depending on the size of your organisation and whether the departure was initiated by the company or by the employee themselves.

Use the checklist we’ve created below to ensure your company is reaping the benefits of a well-managed offboarding process and minimising the risks associated with a poor offboarding process.

1. Document the contract termination

Make sure the HR has a formal letter of resignation or contract termination from the employee. 

When important issues are recorded in writing and dated clearly, there’s less room for misunderstandings.

2. Boost company culture by notifying the team

You’ve invested time and resources into creating a successful team

So don’t let gossip or rumours throw that cohesiveness off balance. Make sure you notify the team as soon as possible that someone is leaving (if that person hasn’t told the team themself).

Secrecy has a negative impact on company culture, so make sure other employees feel they can freely express any concerns or ask questions as a result of that person leaving. 

By keeping everyone in the loop, there are no secrets and employees understand that their confidence and wellbeing are a priority.

3. Ensure continuity beyond the offboarding

One essential aspect of an effective offboarding process is the handover. 

Continuity is a priority and much of this is down to your outgoing employee. LinkedIn has some useful tips for employees writing a handover document.

Consider asking them to provide a to do list. This is for final projects and deliverables. That way, there are no loose ends when the outgoing employee hands over their role.

From an HR perspective, leaders will want to decide who will replace the employee or whether their work will be reassigned to other people.

There may also be training needs and skills gaps that should be identified and acted upon.

4. Use checklists as part of your offboarding process

While HR is planning the logistics of the handover, it’s good offboarding practice to provide the outgoing employee with a checklist of any items that need to be returned. 

This may include keys, ID badges, laptops, mobile phones, parking permits and anything else employees use.

5. Reduce security risks by managing IT accounts

A poor offboarding process opens the door to huge security risks, but an effective process can greatly reduce or even eliminate this threat.

For the IT team, offboarding an employee can be complex. According to leading SaaS management company Torii that’s where a great IT checklist comes in.

6. Exit interviews are an opportunity to collect valuable data

Losing a valued employee is hard, but the offboarding process presents HR with an opportunity to understand how to improve the employee experience.

According to a study from Business News Daily, 60% of HR managers say their organisation takes action on exit interview employee feedback. That means that 40% of organisations are missing out on the opportunity to do things better in the future.

By acting on the feedback departing employees give during exit interviews, companies can make significant improvements in employee turnover, wellbeing, and experience

It can be a great boost to team morale when the leadership team takes onboard feedback from departing employees.

Glean useful insights from employees by asking the right questions

Employees may feel more comfortable sharing information at their exit interview than while working at the company.

UK based recruiter Indeed has a list of the 8 best exit strategy questions to help you collect valuable data and innovative ideas for improving your organisation.

Carefully plan your exit interviews to boost your company’s reputation

The exit interview is one of the last interactions the outgoing employee will have with your company. Conduct them in a way that creates lifelong brand ambassadors who leave your company speaking highly of their experience.

7. Show your gratitude

According to, 69% of employees show better performance when they receive appreciation and recognition for their work.

Remembering to appreciate your workforce not only boosts morale, it creates a strong company culture and raises employee engagement levels.

So why is this important when it comes to creating an effective offboarding process? Consider organising a leaving party or giving the outgoing employee a token of the company’s appreciation for their efforts.

Looking after your employees starts before you hire them

When an employee contemplates joining your company, one of the key areas they’re interested in is the benefits package. At a time when the cost of living is rapidly rising, great employee perks are becoming more important than ever.

Openwage is an on-demand pay platform that enables your employees to access up to 50% of their earnings before payday. There’s no cost to your business and no need to change the way you run payroll.

Learn more about how on-demand pay can benefit your employees and your company. Contact us to request a demo