Best practices
August 25, 2022

(Remote) offboarding - why you should take care of it | No one told me that…

Let's imagine a situation like this: you are the HR manager and Andrew (a sales employee) emerges from over the horizon with his resignation letter. The second scenario involves Eve, working in customer support, to whom you have to pass on the redundancy news affecting her position. As we know, a well-conducted onboarding is one of the key stages when an employee joins a company. But what about offboarding? 

Offboarding falls into the category of those 'difficult' topics in the communication process of HR departments in organizations. It involves a number of steps - from cut-off access and handover of equipment, to handing over responsibilities, to the conversation - both with the person who is leaving and the team. Remote offboarding, contrary to appearances, is not significantly different from offline offboarding, except for the fact that all activities are transferred to the virtual world.

Where to start?

In the name of the principle of They need to know, regardless of the reason and method for parting with an employee, the first and key issue is to inform all those who work most closely with the person leaving the ranks of the organization. It must not be the case that the team responsible for a particular activity is suddenly incomplete. Failure to inform implies above all an inability to reorganize the work. Ideally, the team leader should inform the other members of staff changes well in advance. This should be done in a neutral manner. 

Chinese whispers - a few words about gossip

The communication of information should be as comprehensive, reliable and transparent as possible. Failure to inform employees, leaving out key issues, can result in rumors, which in turn are great at helping to create chaos. Fighting and debunking rumors is an arduous process and almost always ineffective. Ensuring transparent communication not only avoids the 'dumb phone' effect, but also influences a smoother handover process. 

Keeping know-how in the company

If an employee who has been properly trained to carry out specific activities leaves, it is essential that we ensure that he or she passes on his or her knowledge to a replacement. This allows us to collect and document the responsibilities of the employee who is leaving us, while at the same time preserving the expertise that the new employee will need to carry out his or her tasks. It is a good idea to collect the most important information in the company's Knowledge Base; this will not replace the new employee's onboarding process, but it will make the whole process easier and permanently secure the knowledge in the company for the future.

Exit interview

The exit interview is necessary and should happen. In the era of remote working, we have a number of tools to make it easier. It is also important what we do with the information we obtain. Many times it should be used to analyze and measure the reasons for turnover in a particular team.

Saying goodbye

A small gesture to say goodbye - is it worth it? As well as ensuring that the employee's departure is tidied up - removing the person from email addresses, subscriptions and other places where he or she was listed - it is a good idea to make sure that the impression he or she leaves the company is as good as possible. At the time of the person's departure from the company, as well as when he or she was employed there, someone from the division managing the team in question should be present. Taking care of these seemingly insignificant issues will ensure that the dismissal is not perceived negatively. 

Challenges of offboarding

The biggest challenge may be making your last day at work, one of your best days ever. Keep in mind the primacy effect (here supported by a well-planned onboarding and first impression), which is important when an employee joins a team, but don't forget the freshness effect, which is responsible for the ending and the emotions that accompany parting from the workplace. It is also very important to realize that remote offboarding does not mean that the employee who leaves the company will be treated worse. They should be given support - exactly the same support they received during their first days at the company.