The offboarding process can be complex, time-consuming, and overwhelming for all parties involved. This includes the employee that’s leaving, the HR team, the department manager, and the IT team. Oftentimes, organizations don’t have a structured offboarding process and they get caught off guard.

Does this sound like a familiar scenario:

The employee submits a two-week notice.

The manager is shocked and frustrated.

The employee gets removed from meetings, communications, and projects.

HR may or may not conduct an exit interview.

IT revokes access to systems and collects the laptop.

The employee packs up their workspace and walks out.

UGH. That’s rough. But don’t worry – there’s a way to make the process smoother! 

This blog post will provide you with some tips for building an effective offboarding process to ensure all loose ends are tied up when an employee leaves. Want to ensure you’ve got all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed? Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • Definition Of Offboarding
  • Importance Of An Offboarding Process
  • Tips For Building An Offboarding Process

Definition Of Offboarding

According to HR Glossary, “Offboarding is the process of disengaging an employee from their position within a company, a practice used both for employees who choose to leave, and for those who are laid off.” Offboarding can also be referred to as a formal separation of an employee from their company. 

This separation can happen through voluntary termination (resignation), involuntary termination (laid off or fired), illness, death, or retirement. With this separation comes many responsibilities for the HR team, IT team, and manager, such as:

  • Preparing paperwork
  • Backfilling the position
  • Transferring responsibilities to another employee
  • Deactivating systems access
  • Conducting an exit interview
  • And much more!

Because an employee leaving can be disruptive to an organization, it’s critical that HR has an effective offboarding process in place. Let’s look at the importance of an offboarding process.

Importance Of An Offboarding Process

An offboarding process doesn’t need to be just a checklist of tedious items to get done. Let’s look at a way to leverage the offboarding process as an opportunity for your HR team to:

  • Improve your organization’s culture
  • Protect your reputation
  • Ensure security of systems and information
  • Maintain the relationship


A smooth offboarding process doesn’t just benefit the employee that’s leaving. Remember, your remaining workforce is watching. Has the employee left on good terms? Are they treated with dignity and respect? Has the organization considered the well-being of all employees? Do the remaining co-workers feel informed and prepared? Has the organization shown gratitude for the departing employee’s contributions? All these areas affect the morale of employees and can either positively or negatively affect the organization’s culture.


Employee experience is key. Whether an employee is voluntarily or involuntarily leaving, their impression of their offboarding experience can make an impact. With social media and company rating sites, negative and/or positive stories can spread quickly. A good offboarding process gives the employee a chance to provide information about their time with your organization, and for you to offer solutions to any issues.


Physical and intellectual property need to remain secure. For physical property, it’s important that the employee turns in hardware, such as a laptop, and provides access to systems, especially if they were an administrator. Regarding intellectual property – also known as knowledge – it’s not something that’s tangible that can be handed to you. It’s critical to provide an appropriate timeframe where knowledge about processes, historical information, customers, and even team dynamics is transferred to other employees.


Whenever possible, ensure the employee leaves on good terms, feels appreciated for their contribution to the company, and knows they are welcomed back to the team should an opportunity arise. This leaves the door open for the employee to come back, or even refer qualified candidates because of the positive, welcoming culture.

To make the idea of building an offboarding process even more impactful, let’s look at some stats of responses to a recent Zluri Remote Workforce Offboarding survey.

Offboarding Security Threats 

  • 58% of survey respondents reported that offboarding processes have changed because of COVID-19
  • 67% believe that departing employees are more likely to cause security breaches by accident than intentionally
  • 76% agreed that employee offboarding represents a significant security threat
  • 86% believe that security threats have changed due to a remote workforce during the pandemic

Now that we’ve covered the importance of offboarding and the impact of security threats, let’s look into some tips for building your offboarding process.

Tips For Building An Offboarding Process

As an HR professional, you may already have your offboarding process built. But if not, or you need to update it, here are some tips and guidelines to consider.


So that no steps are missed, create checklists and instructions for all people involved in the process, including the HR team, manager, IT team, and employee who’s leaving. 

Your checklists should be grouped into the types of employment termination and contain steps, such as the following (for example only; not a complete list):

Involuntary Termination

  1. Notify employee and manager
  2. Complete paperwork
  3. Communicate with IT
  4. Remove access to systems and accounts
  5. Collect company equipment
  6. Send final paycheck
  7. Update org charts

Retirement / Voluntary Termination

  1. Inform co-workers
  2. Transfer valuable knowledge
  3. Conduct replacement training
  4. Complete paperwork
  5. Host a thank you celebration / farewell gathering
  6. Conduct an exit interview
  7. Communicate with IT
  8. Remove access to systems and accounts
  9. Collect company equipment
  10. Send final paycheck
  11. Update org charts
  12. Stay in touch; leverage advocacy and referral opportunities

Illness or Death

  1. Inform co-workers
  2. Complete paperwork
  3. Send final payments to family, if applicable
  4. Find a successor
  5. Communicate with IT
  6. Remove access to systems and accounts
  7. Retrieve company equipment
  8. Host a memorial event, if appropriate
  9. Update org charts


It’s important to provide clear instructions and guidelines for all people involved in the offboarding process. Here are a few areas to consider (for example only; not a complete list):

  • Show gratitude. Thank the departing employee for their contributions to the organization. Congratulate them if they landed a new position. And wish them well in their new journey.
  • Communicate with the team. To avoid gossip and misunderstandings, communicate about the employee’s departure as soon as possible. This helps the team understand why the employee left and what the next steps will be.
  • Make time for knowledge transfer. If possible, prepare for knowledge transfer and training the successor in advance. This will help the transition to a successor go more smoothly.
  • Collect company assets. Before they leave, ensure the employee hands over all company assets such as a laptop, monitor, phones, badges, and keys. 
  • Revoke access. Work with the IT team to remove employee access to email, CRM systems, company social media accounts, and other internal platforms.
  • Conduct exit interview. An exit interview will give the HR team valuable insight into challenges in the role, issues with management, team dynamics, and the company’s strengths and weaknesses. This will shed light so that improvements can be made.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive checklist or all of the guidelines you can use, but it will get you started. 

And Employee Cycle can help your team with the offboarding process by providing your HR team with the data needed for making good decisions. Schedule a call today with one of our solutions experts. We’ll provide a demo of our HR Analytics Dashboard that can provide key insights into retention and attrition trends. And we’ll answer any questions you have about building an effective offboarding process.