Employee Offboarding Checklist

Offboarding is the process of separating an employee from an organization by termination, resignation, or retirement. It covers all of the decisions and procedures involved when an employee departs. This may include:

The Meetingnotes Team
April 11, 2024

HR teams devote a great deal of time and effort to onboarding new employees, ensuring they are welcomed pleasantly and immediately brought up to speed. But how do you handle their exit?

HR professionals and their teams often put more effort into planning and conducting onboarding programs compared to offboarding programs.

A defined employee offboarding procedure, however, not only mitigates legal and security risks but also allows you to get honest input from staff on how to improve your organization. An effective offboarding process may also increase the likelihood of employees coming back in the future. This is why we have compiled a comprehensive offboarding checklist to get you going.

In this article, we’ll be covering an effective employee offboarding prcess, allowing your team members to get the maximum benefit from this often overlooked process.

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What is Employee Offboarding?

Offboarding is the process of separating an employee from an organization by termination, resignation, or retirement. It covers all of the decisions and procedures involved when an employee departs. This may include:

  • Disabling access credentials
  • Transferring the employee's roles
  • Conducting exit interviews to obtain feedback regarding their tenure

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Why is Employee Offboarding Important?

Employee onboarding can never be stressed enough. Some of the benefits it brings on the table include:

Tying Up Loose Ends

Tying up loose ends when an employee exits the organization ensures you don't end up protracting the discharge process, losing time, and causing inconvenience. This approach may also help you figure out what you can do better for your existing and prospective employees.

Enhancing Employee Branding

A successful offboarding process has a positive impact on your employer branding. Employer branding refers to an organization's capacity to distinguish itself from the competition in a way that attracts potential employees. It presents an employer's image as their employee value proposition and overall ranking as a workplace. Employer branding has been increasingly important in recent years as employees desire to work for a company that shares their values and views.

The benefit of a good offboarding process for a departing employee is that the departing employee will have a more positive outlook toward your company. A robust offboarding process is the final phase in the employment journey. When a departing employee has a pleasant memory of their farewell, they are more likely to reflect on an incredible experience and may end up returning or boosting your reputation in the future.

Enhanced Security

You can't afford to risk corporate security breaches or customer data leaks. Indeed, a recent SANS survey shows that a third of all firms have previously encountered an insider threat event. Developing a carefully managed offboarding process is one of the greatest ways to prevent this.

Streamlining Compliance

You may also need to follow industry and organization-specific rules and regulations. Many compliance frameworks, such as those for B2B organizations working with DoD, necessitate stringent access restrictions, particularly when it comes to offboarding.

Robust compliance is an excellent way to demonstrate to clients that your company is committed to their security. Efficient offboarding is critical to this.

So, let us cover what you'll need to guarantee the best offboarding process:

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The Employee Offboarding Checklist

An efficient offboarding process will include:

Communicate the Departure

As soon as you are certain that an employee is departing, inform the rest of the team. When coworkers believe someone is departing or that there will be a change, the rumors begin. Rumors can result in inaccuracy and cultural issues. Make an official announcement to get ahead of the rumor mill.

The most important parties to notify are the employee's manager, immediate team, HR, and IT so they may begin their own offboarding processes. You can then notify the rest of the organization and any clients with whom they were primarily engaging with.

You may send an email or make a brief statement to let people know the employee is leaving. Whichever option you select, be sure you notify everyone about the employee who is departing, explain why they are leaving, and wish them well. If you know who will be picking up their tasks, be sure to provide that information as well.


Thank the Employee

Employees have invested a significant amount of time and effort in their careers, and they deserve recognition for it. Honor them with a farewell party, a thank-you note, a parting present, or any other mark of your gratitude. Expressing your appreciation for the employee's hard work will make them perceive you in a positive light, and they will be more likely to return or recommend you to their networks. Appreciating them for their service will also keep morale up, especially if others aren't as pleased with the departure.

Transfer the Employee's Knowledge to their Successor

You should design a plan on how you'll transfer knowledge, who you'll transfer it to, and when you'll transfer it. After that, you and the departing employee must collaborate to determine the breadth of data that needs to be transferred. You should ask yourself how much of their knowledge or expertise has been documented. This data will aid you in developing learning programs for your team as well as the employee's replacement. Remember that the more inarticulate the information is, the more time it will take to transfer it.

Some of the details you should gather include:

  • A comprehensive picture of their day-to-day routine
  • Their priority tasks
  • All forms of access to systems and company information
  • Who they collaborate with, both inside and outside the company
  • If and what systems their successor needs training on

Apart from this, it's usually a good idea to urge employees to develop a handover document or video with helpful hints for whoever takes over their work. Furthermore, if any roles can be automated or incorporated into standard operating procedures, the exiting employee is the best person to do it. With this, you can effectively save on time and resources.

Staying on amicable terms with former employees has the extra benefit of allowing you to approach them for assistance if you find yourself lacking specific information after their leave.

Recover company assets

It's critical to recover corporate assets when an employee's employment ends. Collect any company-issued gadgets, such as phones or computers, as well as any keys, uniforms, identification badges, and security cards, on the employee's last day. You should also close any payments or reimbursements for any company credit cards or expense accounts in the employee's name.

Revoke systems access

You also need to revoke the employee's access to your organization's systems. This covers email and internal platforms, but several additional permissions may need to be withdrawn depending on the employee's role. This may include access to sales dashboards, corporate social media accounts, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems.

You should deactivate both on-site and cloud accounts. Evaluate any apps saved in the employee's work portal if you had issued a single sign-on solution. If you're using a mobile device management solution, you can wipe the device or applications remotely.

Update Your Org Charts and Company Directory

Internal communication is often slowed and muddled by references to former employees, particularly for new staff. An org chart is more than a visual representation of your organization's structure and a list of staff. It's an employee database. It's also a communication and onboarding tool for new employees and can help in increasing staff productivity and workload management. But only if it's comprehensively updated. If your org chart is lagging, it will likely generate more confusion and harm than good.

To facilitate a smooth transfer, ensure your organizational charts and directories are fully updated and contain the employee's replacement information. Make sure to update any firm documentation that mentions the employee.

If you have a self-service HR system, you can delegate this work to line managers, but it's still HR's obligation to ensure that the procedure is followed, and the information is current.

Complete Final Pay Process

Most payroll systems have this mechanism incorporated, but it's crucial to double-check that the final pay process is handled by payroll. Some organizations, however, do not usually remove employees from the payroll until months after departure. You'll need to make sure payroll is aware of specifics like the employee's termination date, notice period, and any other details they'll need to lawfully reimburse the employee. You should also go through all your employees' documentation to track their severance package or pension.

Perform an Exit survey or Interview

When executed correctly, exit interviews may present a plethora of information. It may help you understand your company's strengths and flaws and how to correct the latter.

When an employee opts to leave on their own will, this stage is even more critical. An exit interview is conducted so that you may have a thorough understanding of why the employee wishes to leave and whether there is anything you can do to improve your employees' performance. Notify the employee of the meeting's purpose before moving ahead. To do it effectively, you can check out our article on how to state the purpose of a meeting.

Here are some things to think about while conducting a departure interview:

Give the employee the option of a face-to-face interview or a questionnaire. Employees should not be compelled to attend a face-to-face session if they do not want to, and you may find that giving them a questionnaire allows them to provide more candid feedback.

Instead of the employee's direct supervisor, you should have an HR representative conduct the interview. Even if they are departing soon, the employee may be less willing to speak frankly with their supervisor.

Even if you operate remotely, the offboarding process is crucial. Make sure you schedule a video departure interview.

It is always important to set effective meeting agendas. Here are some of the questions you can ask:

  • What did you not like about our workplace?
  • What did you enjoy about our workplace?
  • How can you describe our corporate culture?
  • What could we do to improve employee wellness?
  • Is there any particular reason you are leaving the organization
  • Who do you give the most credit for work performance here?
  • What are some of the things we are missing out on?
  • Is there an aspect of our firm we could have changed to convince you to stay?
  • What are your reasons for accepting your new position?
  • Was the job up to par with your expectations?
  • Would you recommend us to your job-seeking friends?
  • How was your working relationship with your supervisor?
  • Do you feel we missed out on the onboarding process?

You can also check out our HR exit interview template for more information.

Leave the Door Open For Return

When an employee left, the common belief among employers was that that was the end of the journey. With employers facing a shortage of competent labor, that mindset is starting to shift. The stigma attached to recruiting "boomerang staff" is fading.

As a result, take certain precautions before your employee exits to ensure all avenues are open for their return. Establishing an alumni network of former workers is one approach to achieve this. You can execute this by:

  • Inviting the employee to join the network after they exit the firm, whether through LinkedIn or a structured alumni management system.
  • Using your alumni network to share organization news, get comments, and inquire about referrals for future job openings.

If an alumni network isn't an option, ensure the employee's contact details and profile are up-to-date in your recruitment system. You never know when the ideal opening will coincide with that employee's desire to return.


It can be challenging to navigate an employee's exit. However, you stand to gain so much from efficiently handling their departure. Not only do you get to separate on amicable terms, but you also get to tweak around the problematic areas of your organization. With a comprehensively designed and executed offboarding program, your organization is all set to chart a desirable future.

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