Why Developing an Effective (Remote) Offboarding Process is Important
Remotely onboarding and offboarding employees are becoming the norm across organisations globally. These practices are revealing new challenges and opportunities in these new and established practices. While we explored some of these opportunities in our past article about onboarding, this article is focused on current practices around remote offboarding. The article will explore how people practices around offboarding are being adapted to meet the virtual digital landscape many employees are currently navigating.
What is Offboarding and Why is it Important?
Offboarding, which is the process when an employee parts ways with the organisation they have worked for, is often overlooked as much of the focus usually falls on onboarding processes. But offboarding should not be forgotten.
Offboarding is likely neglected because many often see offboarding as a necessary process for returning company equipment and deactivating company access to various systems. They forget the way the process of offboarding affects the transferring of responsibilities and knowledge, feedback from employees and the last impression they have of the company.
Let’s take a moment to look at some of the reasons why having a good offboarding process is important and should be on the HR agenda
- Past employees can become future employees – The reason that employees leave companies is not always because they do not enjoy working at the company. There is a multitude of reasons why employees leave. They might leave for personal family reasons, because they are relocating, or because they feel that they may be challenged more at another organisation. In the future, it could become advantageous for both parties to work together. When employees leave on a sour note this possibility is diminished.
- Past employees impact a company’s employer brand – The impressions of an organisation that an employee leaves with are built over the length of their employee journey. And the final days of their employment can cement their feelings about the organisation. While they may not work for the organisation anymore, if asked, they will likely report positive feelings. And as employer branding moves higher on the agenda, this good feeling can funnel into social posts and other word of mouth stories that help the business attract new employees.
- Past employees can aid in assisting new employees – One of the more pertinent reasons for properly offboarding staff is the need for a smooth handover process between them and the new employee. When there is a well organised and empathetic offboarding process former employees are more likely to be willing to smooth the transition of knowledge and expertise to the next person.
How Offboarding has Gone Remote
While the larger shift to remote offboarding, like remote onboarding, was increased due to the global pandemic and with many jobs continuing to operate remotely it is sure to be a practice that not only stays but innovates to better suit the needs of the organisation and its workforce.
To create seamless and effective remote offboarding processes HR departments need to work closely with their Digital and IT departments to find the right digital process that helps to create an empathetic work environment that leaves employees feeling empowered and included in making their steps out of the organisation. The support of digital systems can lead to the creation of a well-thought-out dashboard or portal that can make the transitionary process seamless. The portal could include a guide to how employees can return their equipment to the employer, best practices for virtually handing off responsibilities and other tasks that aid the offboarding process. The HR department leads in the knowledge and experience around what is needed in the process and the IT department aid in making this process a digital reality. Working together to tackle the challenges of offboarding remotely is eased when these two departments work together.
One of the best ways to make the offboarding process an easier procedure is to have it operate in an environment that is already adaptable and empathetic to its workforce. While how a business can do this work cannot be covered, even briefly in this article, we have many other articles on our insights page that can lead you in understanding how that environment. Companies and leaders that are more adaptable to the need of their employees and are open to empathetically will be able to make sure that as their former employees leave on happier notes.
The need to have a successful offboarding process is supported by HR and IT departments. As remote work becomes the standard, or at least an option, in many organisations creating processes that support these workers is integral.