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    Offboarding defined: What it means and why it makes a difference

    With unemployment in Europe expected to rise by more than 8.6% in 2021 in the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic, many organizations are taking a closer look at their employee exit management processes - otherwise known as ‘offboarding’.

    Whilst most businesses have some form of employee onboarding in place, a formal exit management strategy has largely been neglected - often little more than an eleventh-hour exit interview and a small gift (if you’re lucky).

    Until now.

    Offboarding is becoming an increasingly important part of the HR landscape as businesses begin to understand the long-term financial and social impacts of mismanaging an employee’s departure.

    Icon-RightArrow-Yellow Offboarding definition

    Offboarding, or ‘employee exit management’, is a process that comes before the formal separation of an employer and their employee, whether voluntarily or otherwise.

    A robust offboarding process should smoothly transition the employee out of the business and facilitate the transfer of knowledge to other employees - ticking compliance & privacy boxes along the way.

    Offboarding can also help protect an organization's employer brand and give HR departments insight into their company's problem areas.

    Icon-RightArrow-Yellow Offboarding vs Onboarding: What’s the difference?


    Offboarding is the exact opposite of employee onboarding - but the two have much in common when it comes to best practice.

    Good onboarding puts experience first, focussing not on administrative box-checking, but on how an onboardee feels about their new role.

    The same can be said of a good offboarding process.

    Whilst it is important to get the legal components of exit management right, it is just as important to ensure that your departing colleague has a positive experience on the way out.

    Icon-RightArrow-Yellow Why you should offboard departing employees


    Managing an employee’s departure from your organization is the right thing to do if you care about your people. A positive exit experience will give leavers confidence in their next role, and let them know that you value their contribution to your business.

    But it is also business-critical and, done well, can help your organization’s long-term development.

    Here are just a few reasons why:

    1. Departing employees have insights that HR needs

    There is no better time to gather feedback on your organization than during an employee’s offboarding process. This is a time where employees are most likely to be open and honest about their experiences with your company, as they have little to lose.

    HR can use these insights to improve upon future processes and to course-correct any employees who they think might harbor some of the same concerns.

    2. Departing employees can help drive recruitment

    It’s true, referred hires are more cost-effective to hire and stick around longer. In fact, 46 percent of referral hires stick around for at least one year following their recruitment, well above the average 33% for traditional hires.

    Employees who leave on a positive note are highly likely to act as referrers and recommend your organization to their friends, family, and wider network.

    3. Departing employees have knowledge to share

    Without a formal offboarding process, you can guarantee that much of your departing employee’s knowledge will walk out the door with them.

    By putting in place a strong handover procedure, where leavers take the time to impart their organizational expertise, you safeguard the wealth of knowledge your leaver has accumulated during their tenure.

    4. Departing employees can be brand ambassadors

    Ask any marketer what the most valuable form of advertising is and they’ll tell you: “word of mouth”.

    By curating a positive leaving experience for your departing colleague, you can help to bolster your organization’s reputation as a good employer that respects and appreciates its staff.

    This is more important than ever in a world where consumers increasingly make purchasing decisions with ethics in mind.

    The takeaway?


    A formal offboarding journey is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. It is a business-critical process that has a significant impact on both people and profit.

    Done well, a strong exit management strategy can help drive recruitment efforts, support a positive employer brand reputation, give HR insight into their existing processes, and equip departing employees with confidence.

    So don’t get left behind, start thinking about your organization’s offboarding processes today for future success.



    Want more about offboarding?
    Join our February webinar for practical tips, tricks and ideas to help you build an effective exit management strategy!

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    Topics: Featured , HR
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