Five reasons why effective offboarding is vital for your business

woman being made redundant, redundancy, leaving a job

Article by Natalie Schofield, HR Consultant at Progeny

Offboarding is a part of the employee life cycle that is often overlooked and under-valued by business owners, but effectively offboarding an employee can actually be just as important as the initial onboarding process.

In the current candidate’s market, companies need to be doing everything they can to be considered an employer of choice, and effective offboarding is a part of this. Here are five key reasons why it’s important to your business.

Reputation

Research shows that potential applicants trust employee insights three times more than the company itself in terms of providing credible information on what it’s like to work there. Unless a departing employee makes a drastic change in their career, they will probably move to a similar job in the same sector and what they say to their network about their experience at your organisation can have a direct impact on your company’s reputation and ability to fill that vacancy. This is amplified by engagement with social media and company review sites such as Glassdoor.

Every employee that leaves your business will essentially be an advocate or antagonist. Advocates can help send potential new talent your way whereas antagonists can deter people from exploring an opportunity. A positive offboarding experience is therefore an important part of maintaining goodwill and a professional, consistent experience.

Continuous improvement

An employee departing from the business offers you a key opportunity to obtain constructive feedback and update company strategy if required. However, research shows that only 26 per cent of employers give employees the chance to have an exit interview with a senior member of the business and just 35 per cent of businesses encourage departing employees to give honest feedback. This represents a real missed opportunity to identify any underlying patterns or issues, that could help aid employee experience and retention in the future.

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Future proofing your business

Establishing a handover period between the outgoing employee and their successor is the best way to effectively transfer knowledge and should be a structured part of the offboarding process. This ensures that the company’s expectations are clearly mapped out to the departing employee and helps to avoid loose ends and assumptions. Ideally, you want an overlap between the contracts of the two team members concerned but if this isn’t possible, the offboarding process should be clear about handover duties and tasks.

Offboarding should also involve disconnecting the outgoing employee from all company resources, including tasks such as handing back IT equipment, changing passwords, deactivating door passes and taking them off your internal network. This addresses any concerns over cyber hacking, information leaks and other potential issues relating to confidential information and security.

Communication

The offboarding of an employee can have an impact on the entire team they worked in. As part of your process, be sure to inform the team members concerned about the departure of their colleague before the information gets out informally. Employees will appreciate the transparency and openness and it avoids the misinformation that can be created by workplace speculation.

In terms of clients, best practice is generally to advise them in advance that their key contact is leaving the business and pass them over to a new contact as part of a handover period.

Create the boomerang effect

More than two-thirds (71 per cent) of businesses are potentially failing to fill skills shortage vacancies by not having an offboarding process that enables good relations with departing employees, new research has found.

The ‘boomerang rehire’ phenomenon (re-joining a company that you worked for in the past) has many benefits for employers including low-cost recruitment, a simpler onboarding process and the individual having existing knowledge of company culture and processes.

Businesses with a positive offboarding process are more likely to attract boomerang hires as they are effectively leaving the door open to departing colleagues, who are a rich source of ready-trained talent.

In summary, increased focus on how people experience leaving as well as joining your team can support your company’s growth and development. Listening and acting on employee feedback, providing consistency of approach and helping to create positive ambassadors for your brand are all tools that can turn your company into an employer of choice.

About the author

Natalie joined Progeny in 2019 and has progressed from an HR administrator role to an HR Consultant.

She has recently completed her CIPD Level 7 – Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management as part of her Postgraduate in Human Resource Management qualification.

 

Natalie Schofield

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