How to Offboard an Outgoing Employee Gracefully

Companies tend to pay close attention to the onboarding process – welcoming and introducing new hires to the organization. However, people rarely spend their
Jarek Wasilewski
Jarek Wasilewski
Content Marketing Specialist
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    Companies tend to pay close attention to the onboarding process – welcoming and introducing new hires to the organization. However, people rarely spend their entire lives at one company, and sooner or later they will leave. What then? If they didn’t mess things up big time, the process of their departure from the company should be smooth and graceful.

    Why is it important to have a pleasant offboarding experience? First, you owe it to them for sharing their talents with you. Second, to avoid any issues that may lead to a disruption in your work. Third – and this one is the most important – because your ex-employees are now your brand ambassadors and are responsible for a part of your employer branding.

    Listed below are 5 crucial things that you do not want to overlook when an employee is leaving your company.

    1. Spread the News and Handle the Resignation Formalities

    Be sure to communicate their decision to all managers and to initiate the necessary paperwork (this includes benefit documents with HR, final payroll and tax documents with the payroll team, and hardware with IT). But, first and foremost: inform the team about their resignation and their motives to avoid rumours and to keep morale up. Having a team member decide to leave isn’t something to be ashamed of and it doesn’t need to be kept a secret.

    2. Take Care of the Handover Process

    First, decide on the projects that the outgoing employee has to finalize before leaving. Then, to keep the process smooth and to minimize any disruption caused by the personnel changes, make sure that they transfer their duties to the existing employees, and/or train the new one (if you’ve already found a replacement). If the employee works with clients, arrange for their takeover by another member of the team.

    3. Learn from Their Resignation

    Arrange an exit interview with someone they trust and ask for honest feedback. Try to discover their real motives for leaving, and ask for both the things that made them happy about working for your company and the things that didn’t. Remember that the information they give you will help you to improve your employee retention in the future, so pay close attention to their criticism and make sure that it is utilized properly.

    4. Bid Them a Farewell with Class

    Prepare a checklist and recover any laptops, mobile phones, company credit cards, keys, uniforms, etc., but don’t make their final day only about that. Make it as memorable as their first one. After all, they’ve contributed so much to your company. Get them a personalized farewell gift and a greeting card with messages from their colleagues. Have a farewell coffee with the team (you can even buy some cake!) and say your thank-yous. Finally, hand them a testimonial – and when writing it, be sure to include things that will actually help them in the future.

    5. Keep Channels – and Doors – Open

    Leave the door open for a return – because you just never know! Also, keep in mind that your ex-employees are now brand ambassadors for you as an employer, so stay in touch with them. They will be telling others about their time spent at your company. If it was a happy time, they may refer their talented friends to you, and whenever you organize an event that is not strictly for the current employees, invite them over.


    Don’t make the devastating mistake of not paying close attention to the employee departure process. It not only ensures that your work continues uninterrupted, but it also gains you valuable, honest feedback to use in the future. Not only is it good for work, but it is also the decent thing to do – and being decent to your ex-employees can work wonders for your branding as an employer.

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