Here’s Why Offboarding Employees Is As Important As Your Onboarding Processes

Onboarding new employees are often on the corporate agenda. Companies see the need to make good first impressions. But what about when employees leave?

Offboarding processes tend to be neglected, next to other important stages of an employee’s journey. As much as onboarding processes can define employee experience, offboarding deserves similar attention for its importance. A structured and comprehensive offboarding policy can help identify weaknesses in an organisation and shape your reputation as an employer.

Offboarding is the interaction and exchange of information when an employee leaves an organisation. A strong offboarding programme improves transition for both sides, leading to a lasting positive impression that your organisation can benefit from.

Importance Of Offboarding Processes

offboarding processes

Identify Weaknesses In Your Organisation

The last touch point of the employee journey can rein in more insight than you think. At the frontlines, employees tend to see issues that the management might not be able to spot easily. A study done by Australian HR Institute suggests the likelihood of a disconnect between how C-suite executives perceive company culture versus how employees see it. Often, leaders have limited to no access to organisational issues that employees might face on the ground.

Instead, conduct an exit interview to gather their feedback and identify areas that require improvement. Departing employees are generally more forthcoming with their opinions, tap on those to gain insights about the company.  

Strengthen Employer Branding

Awry goodbyes may nudge departing employees to broadcast less-than-positive information about your company. And with today’s technology, that could spread anywhere – their family, friends, your customers, or everyone who has seen reviews of your company on Glassdoor.

Job hunts are also much more transparent than before. Job seekers want to know more about potential employers, about 72 per cent of the employees surveyed by Adecco use platforms like Glassdoor or Kununu to evaluate a company’s reputation.  This is why, it is important to manage your offboarding process well and you can turn this into an opportunity to strengthen your brand.

Open up re-hire opportunities

Leave the door open for ‘boomerang employees’. According to Bamboo HR, a boomerang employee is someone who leaves the company to work elsewhere, before returning to work for the former company once again. 

Such hiring practices makes sense when considering the tight labour market today. The talent crunch in Singapore is being felt across various industries. For instance, some 94 per cent of fintech companies surveyed in 2019 believe that Singapore is in need of fintech talent. As a whole, more than 56 per cent of employees face the struggle of filling open positions, according to a 2018 study done by ManpowerGroup.

Boomerang employees are familiar with your culture and processes, thus requiring less time to get to speed. If they left on good terms, a re-hire would promote a boost in hiring confidence, as a boomerang employee will tend to stand out over other applicants. 

In addition to that you save on recruitment costs, and might also be looking at an employee with an improved skillsets and broader experiences. 

Therefore, it is critical that you put in place an offboarding process that allows employees to return. Having open communication and saying goodbye on a good note offers room for a successful re-hire. When a valued employee leaves, keep in touch with them and let them know you’d be happy for them to return.

How To Properly Offboard An Employee

Repossess assets and revoke access. Collection of company laptops or mobile phones is often the first thing that comes to mind with departing employees. But protecting corporate data is equally important too. You wouldn’t want to end up like Ofcom, a UK communications regulator who faced a data breach when a former employee downloaded six years of data and offered it to their competitor.

Complete the paperwork. Prepare the letter of termination, noncompete agreement and other relevant documents. If an employee is resigning, have them to turn in a signed notice of resignation for record-keeping purposes.

Follow through with the leaving employee’s final paycheque. According to Ministry of Manpower’s guidelines, If the employee resigns and serves the required notice period, the final salary payment must be made on the last day of employment. For employees who work with commission, the final commission payment will depend on the terms in the employment contract.

Schedule for an exit interview. It’s best to let a HR personnel or a neutral third-party conduct the interview. Having the manager’s presence in the interview might not foster a comfortable environment for the employee to share ideas, especially if the manager was a contributing source of conflict.

Let your employees know the purpose of the exit interview or they may be reluctant to reveal much. Assure them that their feedback will not lead to reprisals and that it is meant to improve future management processes.

Start knowledge transfer. Having a detailed succession plan will allow a smooth handover to an incoming employee. Come up with learning plans or facilitate job shadowing, if you manage to find a replacement quickly enough. You can also get employees to document their work on a knowledge database. This will encourage best practices on knowledge-transfer and collation of information.

Give a proper goodbye. Be deliberate in maintaining a good working relationship regardless of the reason of departure. Show that you appreciate your employee’s contributions and celebrate by throwing a farewell party or lunch. You can even give a speech to thank the employee for their efforts and achievements. Treating your employees with respect goes a long way in improving employee retention rates and company reputation.

Closing the loop. Many businesses in Singapore tend to overlook offboarding processes, but such neglect can cost you in the long run. A structured offboarding programme will allow for a smoother transition process and continuity of your operations. Use this as an opportunity to learn about your organisation’s weaknesses and strengthen your position as a credible and attractive employer.

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