Employee Offboarding: It’s Not Just about Saying Goodbye

Employee Offboarding: It’s Not Just about Saying Goodbye

The Great Resignation catalyzed millions of workers to leave their jobs, making offboarding seem inevitable. Based on the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, annual employee turnover in 2020 was 57.3%.

An offboarding is required to ensure a smooth transition for the departing employee. Not only the company’s confidential information and assets but also offboarding can help the company learn from the experience of a departing employee. For future improvements, a business can gather feedback about why employees leave.

What Is Offboarding, and What Makes It Vital?

Offboarding refers to ending an employee’s affiliation with a company and returning company property or systems access. It also includes exit interviews, administration and compliance with laws and regulations.

Offboarding aims to ensure a smooth transition for both the departing employee and the company. Helps minimize disruptions to the business, maintains positive relationships with former employees, and protects the confidential information and property of the business.

According to the PeoplePath and Cornell report, departing employees view companies with proper offboarding processes as more likable, with ratings 16% higher.

A 2019 PeoplePath and Cornell University report indicates that about one-third of former businesses maintain links with former employers as customers, partners or suppliers. Also, 15% of new hires come from rehiring and referrals from past hires.

How to Make the Offboarding Process More Meaningful

Organizations invest significant time and resources in recruiting and retaining new employees, but little effort and resources go into offboarding.

Offboarding generally means giving them shallow exit interviews and a description of benefits and resources after employment. However, this is no longer the case; there should be more.

1. Let your new employees realize that “nothing lasts forever.” 

Implementing an offboarding plan at the time of hire aims to tell employees that employers may end the employment relationship at any time.

It can help to establish expectations and prevent future misunderstandings. It also allows employees to realize that their jobs are not guaranteed.

By sharing this information with new employees, employers can clarify that there is no permanent employment relationship. The company may terminate the employment relationship if necessary.

2. Support and facilitate their transition.

Offboarding or terminating an employee’s employment can be difficult and emotional. So make sure the handover is smooth by assigning a friend or mentor to work with the employee during the transition period.

In addition, providing support for the employee during the transition, such as external retraining or career counseling, will also be helpful.

3. Organize a party or a public thank you.

For a departing employee, this may be a great way to show appreciation for their contributions and make the transition more positive. Let’s plan for the employee’s final work day to ensure they can attend and say goodbye to their colleagues. 

Allow time for speeches from co-workers, supervisors and departing employees to share memories and express appreciation.

4. Turn those who leave into loyal ex-employees.

One way to build loyalty among former employees is to create an alumni network or association. We can make regular communications and updates on company progress, invitations to events and opportunities to keep in touch with existing employees. 

In addition, providing opportunities to mentor current employees or return to the company for short-term projects can also help build loyalty with former employees. Establishing a positive reputation and providing a positive experience as employees also makes them loyal alumni.

5. Don’t let your ex-workers be traitors.

The neglect of the exit process is a mistake. Sometimes your former employees end up in a difficult situation. Employers must therefore take steps to mitigate the potential for betrayal by former employees.

The offboarding process should be designed to reduce risks and minimize disruptions to the business while treating the employee with respect and fairness. So, exit interviews can be a valuable tool for collecting feedback and identifying potential problems that may occur when an employee leaves the company.

It’s also helpful to establish a clear policy on handling sensitive information and train employees on that policy once hired. It can ensure that all employees know their responsibilities and the possible consequences of misusing sensitive information.


Organizations must ensure that the offboarding process is managed respectfully and professionally, whether because of a reduction in the workforce, a change in business strategy, or an individual’s performance.