Off Boarding: A Comprehensive Guide to Employee Separation

employee packing paper box at the office

Saying goodbye to an employee can be a bittersweet moment. While it signals the end of one chapter, it also represents the start of a new adventure for the departing worker.

As any business owner knows, employee turnover is an inevitable part of running a company. When an employee leaves, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition… which can be facilitated by adopting a clear offboarding program.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about off-boarding employees. Let’s get started!

Introduction to Off Boarding

What is the meaning of off-boarding?

Off-boarding is the process of transition for an employee who is leaving a company. Off-boarding is an important part of the employee lifecycle and can help to ensure a positive experience for all employees.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as retirement, resignation, or termination. This process can be complex, especially if the employee is leaving on bad terms.

What does it mean to off-board, someone?

When you off-board someone, you’re essentially disconnecting them from the company. This usually happens when an employee is terminated, but it can also happen if an employee resigns or is transferred to another company.

Regardless of the circumstances, off-boarding is a necessary process to protect the company’s interests.

What is an offboarding call?

An offboarding call is a conversation between an employer and an employee who is leaving the company.

The purpose of the call is to discuss the transition process and to answer any questions the employee may have. It is also an opportunity for the employer to express gratitude for the employee’s contributions to the company.

During the offboarding call, the employer will typically provide information about severance pay, benefits continuation, and other key details.

The call may also include a discussion of future opportunities, such as references and networking.

By taking the time to conduct an offboarding call, employers can ensure that employees feel valued and prepared for their next steps.

What is another term for offboarding?

Offboarding (or off-boarding) can also be referred to as “boarding off”, “employee separation”, or “termination process”.

Employee onboarding VS offboarding

Offboarding is the process of disconnecting an employee from their job and company. It includes activities like collecting company property, updating company records, and saying goodbye to colleagues.

On the other hand, an employee onboarding program is a process of connecting an employee to their job and company in order to make her/him an integrated and functioning member. It includes activities like orientation, training, and learning about company culture.

Both employee onboarding and offboarding processes are important for making sure that employees have a smooth transition into – or out of – a company.

What is the common employee offboarding process?

The off-boarding process typically includes a few key steps such as:

Collecting company property, returning keys, company-issued cards, or devices;

Revoke employee’s access to company resources (e.g., email, files, etc.);

Do an off-boarding call with the departing employee;

Completing any final paperwork.

It’s important to off-board employees in a professional and organized manner, as this can help them transition to their next job and prevent negative feelings towards the company.

Furthermore, off-boarding can also help to protect the company’s confidential information and maintain a positive work environment.

What should be included in offboarding?

It includes ensuring that the employee leaves with all the information and resources they need and that any company property or assets are returned.

The off-boarding process can also involve an exit interview (where the outgoing employee is asked about their experience at the company) as well as canceling their email account, logins, and signing termination paperwork.

Off-boarding can be a time-consuming process, but it’s important to make sure that all loose ends are tied up before moving on.

Why is offboarding important?

It’s important to offboard employees correctly for several reasons.

Security risks

First, you want to ensure the data protection of your company. Indeed, off-boarding allows ensuring employees don’t have access to company information or resources that they shouldn’t outside of their contract.

Company equipment & Knowledge transfer

Second, you want to make sure that you collect all company property, including laptops, phones, credit cards, and keys.

Offboarding is also important as it includes transferring your knowledge to someone else, handing over any unfinished work, and making sure that your contact information is up to date.

Valuable feedback from outgoing employee

Finally, offboarding is an opportunity to give feedback and help the employee transition to their next job.

Former employees become ambassadors

Any employee leaving your organization still remains a company ambassador. It is important to enhance the employee’s experience until the end instead of just cutting bridges and forgetting about her/him.

That way, it will also build a positive image of your business and they may suggest their former employer to one of their peers looking for a job.

If done correctly, offboarding can help an employee feel respected and valued even during this contract termination process, prepare for the arrival of the next person on the job, keep nice working relationships, and make sure that your company’s information remains secure.

7 steps to properly boarding off a departing employee

The end of a contract? A contract termination? A resignation?

Boarding off departing employees can seem daunting, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a smooth process for everyone involved.

By following those steps you will get there without any issue!

1. Mission HR teams to recruit a new employee to replace

The first step to boarding off collaborators is probably to mission your HR team to recruit new employees to replace them. This will help fill the position quickly and efficiently so that there is as little downtime as possible.

Once the new hires have been recruited, it is important to place them right in your employee onboarding program to provide them with all of the necessary training and resources so that they are able to hit the ground running.

This includes things like onboarding material, job descriptions, and access to any relevant software or systems. By taking these steps, you can help ensure a smooth transition for both the outgoing employee and the new hire.

2. Ensuring the knowledge transfer to a new employee

The first step in an employee offboarding process is to ensure that the departing employees’ knowledge is transferred to future employees.

This means taking the time to identify what knowledge and skills are essential for the job, and then developing a plan to ensure that the employee’s replacement is able to acquire this information. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as shadowing, mentorship, or specialized training.

Once the new employee has a good understanding of the role, they can then begin to take on more responsibility.

By taking the time to ensure a proper knowledge transfer, you can help to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for both the departing and arriving employees.

3. Conduct an exit interview

Now that you’ve ensured ongoing projects are in safe and trained hands, it’s time to conduct an exit interview. Exit interviews help you to understand the reasons behind their departure and gather feedback about your company.

To get the most honest and helpful responses, make sure to create a safe and comfortable environment for the interview. Let your exiting employee know that they can speak freely and openly, without fear of reprisal.

Once you’ve established this trust, ask questions about their employee experience working for your company. What did they like? What didn’t they like? What could be improved?

Thank them for their time, contributions, and valuable feedback, and wish them well in their future endeavors. Make sure they know you appreciated their work!

You can also take this opportunity to give the employee a clear timeline for their departure, explain how the transition will work, offer assistance during the transition period and confirm that the employee has understood all of the information about the offboarding process.

4. Notify the team/supervisor/company

When an employee is leaving your company, an important step is to notify the team and supervisor if she/he still doesn’t know about the situation. This way, everyone is on the same page and can start to prepare for the transition.

If possible, it’s also a good idea to notify the company as a whole. Indeed, other employees can be alerted to the situation, have time to say goodbye to the exiting employee, organize a departure team gift, and be asked to pitch in where needed.

With everyone working together, the transition will be smooth and seamless. So don’t forget to communicate with your team and company when an employee is departing – it’s an important step in making sure everything goes smoothly.

5. Take care of the off-boarding Paperwork

Like its sister the onboarding process, the offboarding process also comes with its package of documents and paperwork to take care of. This includes everything from updating contact information and files. Then you also want to ensure the employee’s departure is documented: Is there a formal letter redacted and signed?

Depending on your company’s policies and procedures, there may also be other paperwork like:

  • Final pay information and any other owed compensation.
  • COBRA insurance
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Tax documents
  • etc.

Taking the time to fill out this paperwork may seem like a hassle, but it’s essential for ensuring a smooth transition for both the departing employee and the company, and ultimately, avoiding legal issues.

6. Ensuring all company property is returned

This next step of the offboarding process concerns recovering company assets. Before they walk out the door for the last time, you’ll want to make sure that all company equipment is returned. This includes items like laptops, tablets, cell phones, and any other equipment that was issued by the company.

It’s also important to collect any keys, building access cards, id badges that the employee may have. Failing to do so could result in costly repairs or replacements down the road.

7. Revoke access to their accounts, email, login

You will also need to revoke the employee’s access to company resources and accounts (e.g., email, files, software etc.) as well as disable their access to any confidential information, such as company financials or client data.

Don’t forget to set up a forwarding mail, to cancel memberships and benefits.

8. Update your company organizational chart

You’ll all need to update the organizational chart. This will help ensure that everyone in the company is aware of the change and knows who is responsible for what tasks.

To do this, simply remove the departing employee’s name from the chart and add the name of their replacement. If you don’t have a replacement yet, you can leave their position blank until you’ve found someone to fill it.

9. Stay connected

While it is important to protect your company’s interests by properly “boarding off” the departing employee, it is also important to stay connected with the former employee.

There are many ways to stay connected with former employees, including social media, LinkedIn, a call, and even personal email. By staying in touch with them, you can keep them informed about company news, new products and services, and even job openings. In addition, staying connected can help to build positive relationships for future business opportunities.


A positive offboarding experience can result in a stress-free exit from the organization. It can also leave a good impression of the company and may encourage the employee to recommend your organization to others.

The offboarding process can seem daunting, but by following these simple steps, you can ensure that everything goes smoothly for both the departing employee and the company.

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