Offboarding: What it Means and Why it Matters

The Way to Say Goodbye to Your Ex-Employees

Different situations call for different actions.

A point comes in every employer and employee’s life when they have to part ways from each other. And it becomes of utmost importance that every effort, be it joining a new venture or parting ways from an old one, must be carried out with decency, professionalism, and work gratitude. And that is what we are here to discuss a process that describes the separation process when an employee leaves a company: offboarding

So, let’s get into the details of the offboarding process. 

What does offboarding mean?

Offboarding is an organisational process that involves the departure of employees, either for negative or positive reasons. The process is vital for gradually passing on knowledge from outgoing employees to new or existing employees. While withdrawing from any company, the employee needs to return the company’s assets, resources, information technology, etc., and offboarding ensures it all.

The entire process’s goal is to create a decisive atmosphere for employees who are leaving the company. It usually includes:

Transfer of work responsibilities to employees
Access and password restrictions
Delivery of equipment
Exit interviews to get feedback

Essentially, offboarding ensure that there are no loose ends when an employee leaves the company.


The process of offboarding holds as much significance as onboarding them, and employers and HR departments must undertake the task with care, diligence, and sincerity.

How to do it efficiently? 

The following are the keys to developing an effective offboarding plan:

Start the re-hiring process immediately

Once employees put forth their resignation or the situation becomes clear that the employee will certainly be going away, there is no need to waste time. To minimize the damage to your business and its operations, you need to make sure that there are enough alternative prospective people to replace them as soon as possible.

The leaving employee gets the fins chance to act as the company’s entity to fulfil on behalf of the company. This showcases that they are an essential part of the organisation, even in their departure. Taking quick and decisive action in the offboarding process ensures productivity.

Do an exit interview before the last day

Exit conversations are a great way to find out the thoughts and feelings of an outgoing employee. It allows them to tell the truth as it is. However, when it comes to an exit interview, the timing is crucial. If the timing is appropriate, it will help you make an excellent final decision. Harvard Business Review’s article ‘Making Exit Interview Count‘ explains, “Most of last week’s interviews were with employees before they were fired.”

You will be extra inclined to have a balanced understanding of the interview during the notice period. This will help improve the data collected and ideas. You can learn some valuable insights as your employees are more likely to be open at this point to discuss the pros and cons of the business.

Exit Survey

An exit interview is useful for collecting quality data allowing employees to be relevant to their own experience an exit survey helps you improve your data collection, allowing you to add quantitative data to the records.

For example, you can ask the outgoing employee to rate some things about the company on a scale of 10, or you can also ask how they would recommend your business to a friend? This will help you know what they like and what they did as a part of the company.

Besides, an anonymous survey may allow the employee to mention things they did not say in an interactive conversation, especially when it is necessary to focus on specific issues.

Sit down with their manager

The employee management chain is a crucial part of the exit strategy, as it is the direct contact platform for your staff and personnel. It is essential to understand their opinions on issues like employee leave, work environment, etc. It is also your opportunity to ensure that management is at the forefront of its ex-employee responsibilities, such as handing over, returning and forwarding items, and closing company accounts.

Say thank you

That is the central part. The most important thing a departing employee must hear is that their importance was vital in many of the company’s workings. Once they leave the organisation, the former employees can convert their jobs and move elsewhere. If you get a perfect idea, they might return to your business with regained new and improved skills.

Notably, Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985, only to return in 1996 attaining the CEO position just a year later. So, who knows is goodbye for now, rather than goodbye for good?

Why is the offboarding process necessary?

When an employee leaves, s/he becomes a proponent or opponent of the company. Admirers will talk positively about your company and send potential employees along the way. Harsh critics will not recommend your business to anyone, which could hurt you in the long run. So, try creating a positive work environment and an effective exit strategy for them to become your optimistic advocates once they go out.

The efficient offboarding process helps reduce the chances of misunderstandings after an employee resigns or departs. When you take the time to understand the employee experience altogether, you and your team can share more opportunities for networking, growth, and development.

Employee Performance: A factor in the Offboarding Process 

Offboarding is one of the many essential conversations between employees, managers, and executives throughout an employee’s work-life cycle. However, while constant communication benefits include a greater sense of purpose and better performance, minor personal insecurities can lead to friction on some issues.

These insecurities are summed up in one familiar quote – “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”

This saboteur hides as a positive affirmation. However, this attitude can force critical practices, such as regular business management and outsourcing plan, to wait in the background in a way. A great job is one that allows an employee to reduce their shortcomings with effective PR measures. In all human resources departments, an employee is likely to understand the importance of solving a problem, not covering it up.

Creating a positive work environment that identifies problems, helps employees think critically, and measures the process of becoming a good employee is critical to any good company. Good roots can be seen when HR personnel tries to identify employee problems through a real map of employees and managers who can plan for the future. Finding the right answer from the organizing board is not easy for those who have the power to decide.

Offboarding and Boomerang Employees

Maintaining open communication with employees is essential for adapting to their capabilities and fulfilling your organisation’s needs. If the employee’s approach deviates from what an organization can offer, then the path of an effective working relationship becomes narrow.

You may witness some of the best-skilled employees, leaving you no matter what you try. However, you should not just assume that your vacationers will be gone forever. Organisations are witnessing an increase in the nominal “employee boomerang,” which means employees return to the companies they went to earlier.

As many as two in five companies try to re-hire former employees and the chance may come when you find yourself in this position as well. 40% of workers say they’d consider reverting to a company where they earlier worked. At the same time, not all employees will return by striking a great last impression. It can help employees feel able to re-apply for positions within the organization and be welcomed back.

Moreover, returning employees can significantly benefit as you can revamp the investments into new recordings. The productivity of producing employees will be more enhanced than new hires.

Onboarding and Offboarding: What is the Difference?

Offboarding and onboarding are the polar time an employee at a firm. The terms come from an extended comparison that likens the employee lifecycle to a voyage at sea – they enter the body through the boarding process and leave through the outward process.

Onboarding and offboarding are two very distinct parts of an employee’s journey. It’s never as easy as being “hired” or “fired”. Everyone’s step-by-step process is planned from start to finish, and all documentations are neatly, formally, and solemnly organized.

The complexity of onboarding and outgoing processes depends on the organization. Still, as per studies, the more time and attention is devoted to these processes, the better is the experience for employees. Employees don’t covet their onboarding cycle to be like jumping onto the deck when the ship leaves port, and they don’t want their last day with the company to end with jumping overboard.


Offboarding is an organisational process that involves the departure of employees, either for negative or positive reasons. The process is vital for gradually passing on knowledge from outgoing employees to new or existing employees.

At the time of departure, the uncertainty relates to the decisions that determined the employee’s departure. In the employee’s resignation, the employer may wonder if there is a way to persuade the employee who has left to stay. And when employees are fired or made redundant, they can question the employer’s real reasons for letting them go.

Nevertheless, the process of offboarding holds as much significance as onboarding them, and employers and HR departments must undertake the task with care, diligence, and sincerity. That is the only way to secure maximum benefits for all parties involved.

Read more about organisational management topics on our website like downsizing, onboarding, management principles, and many more.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alumnus of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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