The word "offboarding" is reasonably new, but the process it represents, “exit management” has been around since forever ago - in one form or another.
Recently, organisations have begun to better understand the importance of good exit management - how it can impact your existing employee network, boost productivity, and support future recruitment efforts.
Which is great!
But just because we’re all becoming a little wiser when it comes to the offboarding journey, doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of pitfalls along the way that can do serious damage to your organisation if you're not careful.
Luckily, Talmundo is here to help! We’ve put together a list of 5 mistakes to AVOID during offboarding as well as some insightful tips on what to do instead to inspire your departing employees.
#1 Don’t take resignations personally
It can be difficult not to take resignations personally, especially if the departing employee plays a pivotal role within your organisation or is someone you have personally mentored. But if you want to avoid mistake #1 then it’s important to remove your personal feelings from the resignation process.
People resign all the time for all sorts of reasons, it may be they have outgrown your organisation or are simply interested in a fresh start. Whatever the reason, the choice is entirely the employee's own, and inserting your own narrative into the mix is likely to leave a sour taste in your departing employee's mouth.
Be supportive of your employee's choice to leave and continue to treat them as a valued team player until the very end of their tenure.
Of course, if you are eager to keep the departing employee onboard, you can try a counter-offer. If you do choose to go down this route, try not to make your leaver feel pressured to take your offer - if they do choose to stay, you want them to do so for the right reasons and not because they felt too guilty saying “no”.
#2 Don’t announce redundancies en-masse
This offboarding mistake might sound like a no-brainer, but throughout the pandemic, there’s been case after case of organisations making sweeping redundancies over Zoom or email.
We cannot stress enough (no matter how large your organisation becomes) how bad of an idea it is to announce any kind of job cuts en-masse in this way. It shows a tremendous lack of respect towards your departing employees and will most certainly affect how your remaining employees feel about your organisation, not to mention your future recruiting efforts. Surprisingly, potential hires don’t look too kindly on these types of practices!
If you are planning a large-scale redundancy or restructuring, it’s just common courtesy to give each (and every) one of your affected employees a call. Yes, it’s time-consuming. Yes, it will be uncomfortable. But it is the only way to ensure you continue to be an employer that conducts themselves with integrity.
It’s also a great way to avoid being named and shamed all over the web for poor people practices… Just saying!
#3 Don’t take retirees for granted
Retirement is a huge milestone. You’ve worked your entire life to get to a point where you no longer have to work to live. So don’t treat retirement as just another resignation.
As a retiree’s last (at least full-time) employer, you need to remember that the way you facilitate their exit will leave a lasting mark on how they remember you and their working life. It’s important to appropriately recognise the work and energy a retiree has put into your organisation and not simply wave them off with a token “thank you” card in hand.
Give your retiree the respect they deserve with a slightly longer offboarding process that includes some sort of celebration with their colleagues as well as a thoughtful gift that is unique to them.
As part of the process, be sure to document their extensive organisational experience. This has the dual purpose of letting your retiree know how much their knowledge is valued, as well as ensuring critical competencies don’t walk out the door with them.
#4 Don’t let offboardee feedback collect dust
It’s common practice for HR to hold exit interviews to collect feedback from departing employees on their time with the company. The problem is, most of the time that feedback is filed away as part of the leaver's employee record and never looked at again.
That’s why it’s avoidable offboarding mistake number 4!
If you don’t utilise feedback from leavers, you’re likely to repeat past mistakes and miss out on the opportunity to improve long-term retention. You’re also missing a big opportunity to capitalise on what’s already working by passing on positive feedback to managers.
Invest in a digital system to capture feedback and analyse trends. The reality is that most HR folks are already busy enough without manually tracking leaver feedback. The right digital system will do much of the administrative heavy lifting for you, allowing HR to focus on actioning feedback, rather than collating it.
Talmundo’s offboarding solution includes digital tools to gather both short and long-form feedback in-app, allowing for leavers to give feedback in a fun, engaging way..
#5 Don’t forget to offboard contract and short-term employees
Don’t fall into the trap of assuming contract workers don’t require an offboarding.
Short-term employees offer an incredible opportunity to gather unbiased feedback from people who have experienced your organisation first-hand. They’re likely to be more open and honest as they lack a close emotional connection to your organisation and have little to lose.
A good offboarding process for short-term employees is also a great way to cultivate a long-term relationship with that person, increasing the likelihood of them working with your organisation again - a great way to cut down on short-term recruitment costs and productivity shortfalls.
Put together a shortened version of your standard offboarding process designed to send your short-term worker off in style.
Focus on activities that work to gather feedback on their time with the organisation and document the work they have completed whilst in their short-term role.
Remember that a good exit management/offboarding strategy impacts your existing staff base AND your future recruitment opportunities. It’s just as important as onboarding and deserves your full attention if you want to get it right.
If you follow our advice and avoid these 5 offboarding mistakes, you might just turn a traditionally negative experience into something that pays dividends for everyone involved.
Our exit management solution facilitates a seamless offboarding experience for HR, managers, and leavers. How do we do it? Book a no-obligation 15-minute call today with one of our team and find out!