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Offboarding: how to say goodbye properly?

Published on :
19 Sep 2023
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While onboarding is widely adopted in companies, this is not yet the case for offboarding. Although it is gaining in popularity, only 30% of organizations have implemented this practice.

The fact is that "goodbyes" are generally associated with an unpleasant experience for executives and managers. Does the ego find it hard to accept being let go? Or perhaps we're in a hurry to part ways with an employee who no longer fits the bill? Probably a bit of both.

Yet taking the time to say goodbye through a structured, humanized process is key for companies. Why shouldn't offboarding be neglected? Here's an explanation.

What is offboarding?

The employee experience refers to the employee's life cycle, from recruitment to leaving the company. Offboarding is the final stage. Its aim is to ensure that the separation goes smoothly.

When offboarding is successful, the employee leaves with good memories of his or her time with the company. On the company side, the handover is anticipated and structured, the employee is thanked and the administrative and logistical details are settled.

Depending on corporate culture, this stage lasts from a few weeks to a few months. Some organizations go even further, creating a network of alumni like MeltOne, a digital transformation consultancy.

What are the advantages of offboarding?

If you're still hesitating to take the plunge, here are a few arguments that should convince you, and a guide to help!

  • Become a better company

A company is like a living ecosystem: it's in constant motion. Some employees leave, others join. To remain competitive and attractive, it needs to rethink itself. This requires taking the time not only to understand the employee's motivations for leaving, but also to get feedback on their experience.

  • Giving recognition

Every individual needs recognition to find meaning and motivation, and to be aware of his or her worth. By taking care of your offboarding, your employee will feel considered, appreciated and valued. In a way, it's taking care of them. By taking care of your employees through offboarding, they'll be sure to return the sentiment!

How can you do it? By sharing their positive experience with their network and recommending your company. As a result, your reputation is enhanced.

  • Perfect logistics

Has the employee returned his or her work equipment? Has access to internal tools been closed? Is the final statement ready? Taking care of the offboarding process also means avoiding those moments of panic when you realize that the administrative paperwork isn't ready and that the employee still has access to confidential data once he or she has left!

Here's a figure that explains it all: a Workelo survey reveals that major international groups spend €25,000 a year in the wind if access to software is not removed on departure...

  • Skills are preserved

When a team member leaves, he takes his knowledge and skills with him. If they leave abruptly, it's a loss for both the team and the company.

In an offboarding process, the departing employee organizes himself to pass on his skills, files, clients and knowledge to his successor or to the rest of the team.

  • Leaving to find each other again?

Linear careers are becoming increasingly rare. Talent is looking for a rewarding professional experience, and if the price to pay is to change jobs regularly, don't worry! It's entirely possible that your employee will return to your organization in a few years' time, if it's worth it. According to a survey, 70% of employees would be willing to return to a company they had left.

For you, it's a win-win situation! You save time and money on onboarding, since the "boomerang" employee is familiar with your corporate culture. And at a time when recruitment is under pressure, you'd be wrong not to.

  • A more attractive employer brand

These advantages have a cascading effect. According to a Workelo survey, 85% of employees are ready to speak positively about their company if their departure goes well. All the more reason to boost your attractiveness.

As a result, talent commitment and loyalty become stronger, and productivity rises.

Steps to successful offboarding

Organizing a farewell meeting

Remember that an employee who has made up his mind to leave will be inclined to share both the good and the bad. Of course, when the reason for the "separation" is disciplinary, anger may take over and influence the feedback. If this is the case, don't conduct the interview in the heat of the moment, and allow some time for the emotions to subside.

With this practice, you'll be able to gather constructive feedback and optimize your practices and internal functioning. Your levels of commitment and talent retention will be all the better that way!

Communicate your employee's departure

It would be a shame if the rest of the team heard the news at the coffee machine from somebody who had heard that they'd found another job. Or that one of your customers who used to work with your employee discovers on Monday morning that his contact person has changed.

As soon as things have been decided, we recommend that you first inform the team of the news and the procedures involved. Then, keep your customers informed and make an announcement to the rest of your staff via your intranet or social networks. This way, you avoid gossip, sensitivities and fears.

Organizing the handover

Your colleague also has a part to play in making offboarding a success. Involve him/her in the search for a replacement and in passing on their expertise and missions to their successor, or to the rest of the team if no replacement is found before they leave. So why not introduce the new recruit to your customers? An introductory email or a face-to-face meeting is the ideal way to introduce them.

For both the newcomer and the team, the handover is a moment that allows the transition to go smoothly.

Locking in administrative and logistical processes

To make sure you don't forget anything, draw up a list of mandatory administrative documents to be sent to the employee, and get in touch with the IT and logistics departments to schedule the shutdown of access to internal software on the date of your employee's departure.

This will ensure that you don't leave on a bad note if the final balance is not ready on the last day, and a nasty surprise if your former employee has access to confidential information about your next product!

Staying in touch?

Just because your collaboration is coming to an end doesn't mean you have nothing left to contribute. As we've seen, the employee can become an ambassador for your company to his or her network. They may also have an interest in returning to you.

Create a contact database of your former employees, keep them up to date with your news via a newsletter, invite them to a launch party: the possibilities are endless!

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