Essential Steps for Effective Employee Offboarding

Employee Offboarding: Best Practices, Steps, & More


The separation can be

  • Employer initiated separation : Termination 
  • Employee initiated separation : Resignation
  • Retirement and Voluntary Retirement 

Please note, the separation also takes place between the Employer and the Employee, in case of death of the employee. But in such cases, there is “ No Employee Off boarding Process “. 

Off BOARDING covers all the procedure, practices, policies that takes place when an employee leaves the organization irrespective of any reasons. The Employee Off Boarding process should be handled with care, sensitivity, warmth and grace.

Generally during the Off Boarding process, the employee will be interacting with the company may be  for the last time and so the  priority and focus should be given to the Departing Employee so that they should feel valued. Same time, it is equally important for the company to retain the employee, where the HR Department plays the active, interesting and leadership role in organization.

If the departing employee happens to be the “ Asset Employee” , then there will be Retention Strategies to retain the employee. The HR Department is responsible to carry out the “Employee Off Boarding Process” smoothly, efficiently, with fairness and transparency, legally as per the company policies, thereby maintaining the company brand image , with positivity. 

It is the systematic formal procedure that leads to the separation between an employer and the employee through the process of  Employee Resignation , Employer Termination, Disablement of an Employee ,Retirement and Voluntary Retirement and End of Contract or  End of Agreement of an Employee.

The ultimate objective or purpose of Employee Off Boarding is to ensure that the process of separation should happen honestly, smoothly, transparently, effectively, professionally so that both the employer and the employee are treated with Respect and Dignity and same time the employer can maintain healthy good relationships with the departing employees, even after the departure of the employee, thereby avoiding any kind of risks or disputes etc. 

When any existing employee is Resigning, for ex : Relationship Manager, working with Axis Bank  have resigned from Axis Bank , so the Employee Off Boarding Process will be followed and  executed. 

Employee Off Boarding Process takes place in case of “Termination “by the Employer. For ex, Samsung have Terminated the HR Recruiter from their head office due to low performance since yrs. Accordingly, the Employee Off Boarding Process should be followed and executed. 

When an employee meets up with an accident, post which he/she is not able to work anymore, The Employee Off Boarding Process should be followed and executed. For ex, the Store Manager in Pantaloons at Diamond Plaza mall is not able to resume back to his work after he met with a bus accident .

Goals Of Employee Off Boarding Process:

  • Treating the Departing Employees with Respect, Fairness and Dignity irrespective of their reasons for their separation from the Company. 
  • Supporting, facilitating and mentoring and training the departing employees in the transition process so that they can succeed in their next job opportunity. 
  • Transferring and retaining the experience and knowledge of the departing employee to the other employee who can take up the handover of the work which in turn will ensure that the organization’s productivity and effectiveness is not lost. 
  • Reducing or minimizing the impact of the departing employee upon the operations of the company by providing training and  every support to the other employees , who will be taking the handover of the departing employees work. 

Steps of Employee Off Boarding Process Before the Employee Leaves:

For example, The Recruitment Manager” have resigned from ICFAI ,Hyderabad. (Educational Institute) . Therefore the Recruitment Manager has to undergo all these processes , before the employee leaves.

  • When the employee decides to leave the organization, he/ she has to issue or to give a formal notice to the company which is known as the Resignation Letter specifying the reason for Resignation. When the employer decides to terminate the employee, then the employer would issue/ give a Termination Letter which should be specifying the reasons for termination and the last working day of the employee. Basically Termination Letter and the Resignation Letter is the “End Of Contract / End of Agreement” between the employer and the employee. 
  • Executing and implementing the action with those departments that are associated with the Off Boarding Process. Such departments can be HR Department, Administrative Department, I.T Department etc. . Therefore after deciding the employee last working day, it is much important to communicate and to inform such exit news to the HOD’s of department those associated with the Off Boarding Process. 
  • Starting the documentation process , the paper work involving each and every perspective is essential to carry out the exit of the departing employee. 
  • Conducting the Exit Interview with the departing employee that would help the company to get the valuable feedback of the employee for the company so that the company can improve more from each and every perspective. . Exit Interview should include 
  1. The reason for employee resignation , if the employee has resigned 
  2. The employee’s thinking upon the company’s culture, work ethics , policies practices, 
  3. The employee’s relationship with his/her reporting manager and with the Colleagues, Subordinates,  Clients, Top management etc.

It has been observed that sometimes the departing employee can be casual or reluctant to give honest true feedback. However many times they are more interested and willing to share their honest, authentic, transparent feedback upon the detailed questionnaire.

Steps of Employee Off Boarding Process on the Last Working Day of the Employee:

For EX. The I.T Manager has Resigned from Wipro, Kolkata. He has to follow the entire process on his Last Working Day.

  • Recovering the assets of the company. Employee who is on the Off Boarding Process, should have been provided with some company assets to carry out his/her assigned job role more productively, efficiently, smoothly etc. Accordingly, the departing employee should be giving back the handover of every company assets to the HR Department , HOD of the specified department( from where the employee is departed), top management.  Such assets may include
  1. Employee ID’s and the Badges.
  2. Access Cards and keys 
  3. Disabling access to the official Mail ID 
  4. Removing the details of the employees from the upcoming Meeting Schedule. 
  •  Making the day memorable and priceless for the employee on their last working day by recognizing, appreciating, rewarding the contribution and achievement made by the departing employee.  It would also include
  1. Organizing a farewell for the departing employee.
  2. Rewarding the employee with a gift, as a token of appreciation.
  3.  Acknowledging and Honoring and Thanking the employee for the service rendered by the departing employee. 

Please note if the reason for separation is  “ Termination “,  then the focus would be given more upon the administrative part, that to collect back the company assets and property and to continue with the necessary paper work . 

It should be taken into consideration that the above process should be carried out transparently, honestly, effectively, efficiently, productively so that the relationship between the employer and the employee is healthy and good, after the employee is departed from the company. 

  •  Taking the contact details of the employees for the purpose of Post Exit Communication because sometimes there can be a requirement to communicate / connect to the employee , with regard to any information that may be needed urgently. For example, there can be a requirement as in how to carry out the documentation process to the new joined employee. 

Steps of Employee Off Boarding Process After the Employee is Departed:

For example, the HR Manager Resigned from Medica Super specialty Hospital. She needs to follow all such processes after she is being departed from the hospital. 

  • Deactivating the access rights which implies the stoppage of employee’s access to the emails, computers and other resources, which in turn will protect the company’s data and information .Hence the employee cannot do the leakage of the company’s confidential information . 
  • Communication is much important and vital in the employee Off Boarding Process. The employee’s exit should be informed to the respective team and the management inside the organization. Same time it is very much important to inform the clients, vendors, any other external sources with whom the employee had regular conversation during the tenure with the company.

The communication should be just a notification about the employee’s departure , the communication should not involve detailing about the employee’s departure. It should be taken into consideration  that the Off Boarding communication should be aligning with the terms, conditions , rules, regulations of the policies and practices of the company.

Duration for the Employee Off Boarding Process:

  • The duration of the Employee Off Boarding Process depends upon multiple factors , such as the complexity and the size of the company , the specific reason behind an employee’s departure, availability of the support and resources etc. 
  • Usually the Employee Off Boarding process takes place starting from a few days to several weeks based upon the situation and the circumstances. If the employee is leaving the organization voluntarily, and if there are not many concerns or outstanding issues, then the Employee Off Boarding Process may not take much time . On the Contrary, if the employees separation is Termination, and if there are any legal, complex or HR issues, then the Employee Off Boarding might take more time to complete.

The  organization must continue the Employee Off Boarding Process systematically in order to ensure the process is handled efficiently, effectively , productively in order to avoid any kinds of disputes, concerns etc.

Benefits of Employee Off Boarding Process:

An efficient Employee Off Boarding Process can provide multiple benefits to the company and their employees. With proper planning and time boundation, if the Employee Off Boarding  Process takes place effectively and efficiently, then the organization can support their employees at the same time the organization can protect their assets and property and can also maintain the positive good healthy relationship with the departed employee, even after their departure with the company. 

  • The Company can collect and gather valuable information through the process of Exit Interview . Feedbacks can be obtained about the work processes, work culture, work atmosphere, key skills and the competencies, expertise and specialized knowledge etc. 

Such information will help to capture and to identify the gaps, if any, which in turn would ensure the departing employee’s knowledge and experience is not lost and is transferred to the other employee who can utilize the same in their assigned job role.  

Hence the company would be providing training and support to the other employee who will be taking the handover of work of the departing employee. 

Accordingly the organization can ensure that the transition is smooth , same time the knowledge and the expertise is being retained, thereby a culture of learning and development takes place through the process of ongoing knowledge transfer. 

  • Maintaining a healthy and good relationship with the departing employee, even after the separation from the employer . This can be very much helpful and useful to the employees who are leaving on good note and on good terms and the departed employee can be in touch with the employer and can also help in providing references  to the employer as and when the vacancies are taking place .
  • Improving the morale and facilitating the retention amongst the employees of the organization. When the existing employees of the organization observe, the Employee off Boarding process takes place smoothly, efficiently, and transparently, and the departed employees are being treated with respect, dignity, and fairness. 

Therefore the existing employees may feel that every employee is being valued which in turn enhances the productivity, morale, efficiency , effectiveness of the employees which would reduce the employee turnover amongst the existing employees. 

  • Enhancing the brand image of the company by maintaining a nice behavior, good ethics, complete satisfaction to the departing employee, so that the message or the feedback from the departing employee should be good about the company. 

It is so because any business or the company would desire that the world and their potential customers should look at their company with positivity in a good light, for the success, growth, productivity, popularity, brand image of the organization. 

  • Preventing the security issues through the Employee Off Boarding Process which specifies to take back the company’s assets and property from the departing employees, thereby ensuring that the organization assets are being protected and are in the safety zone and so the departing employee cannot retain the unauthorized access. 

It terminates the departing employee’s access to the emails, computer and other resources by helping the organization to protect their assets and property and information and identifying and addressing the potential security risk or concerns. 

  • One of the most important reasons for the Employee Off Boarding Process is to prevent the legal issues, the legal compliance as it helps to ensure that the employer treats the departing employee with dignity, respect, fairness, thereby facilitating every support and necessary paperwork and identifying and addressing the potential legal issues, if any. 

Therefore the organization can protect themselves from the legal risk and at the same time, can provide every support to the employees through the process of proactive and strategic approach to Employee Off Boarding. 

  • Boomerang Employees takes place when the employee leaves the organization and returns back to the same position or in a different job role. When the Employee Off Boarding process is good, the employer can maintain a healthy, nice, good relationship with the departing employee and provide every support in their transition, which in turn will make the employee positive towards the organization and may be open to return back to the same organization in the long run.  

If the organization is having the contact details of the departing employee, accordingly the organization can stay in touch with the departing employee and can be informed about the career progress and development. This in turn would also help to capture and identify opportunities for the employee to return back in their previous job role or different job role. 

Benefits of Knowledge Base in the Employee Offboarding Process:

  • A knowledge base can be utilized to save and share the information and the experience of the departing employee’s job responsibilities ( including the work processes,  talent, key skills, competencies, area of expertise) to facilitate the knowledge and experience of the departing employee to the other employee who would be taking up the handover of the departing employee’s  job responsibility. 
  • Such information can be saved and stored in a centralized location,  so that it can be accessed as and when required, ensuring that the knowledge and expertise is not lost. 
  • A knowledge base can also be used to facilitate training and mentoring to the employees involved in the Employee Off Boarding Process, such as the respective departmental head and the HR Department so that the Employee Off Boarding Process happens smoothly, that would ensure providing access to the resources, or any kind of support can be given to transfer the knowledge and expertise. 
  • It has been observed that continuous Learning and Development , Training and Devlopment takes place through the concept of ongoing knowledge transfer which ensures the employees are continuously learning and growing which further leads to the overall improvement  and development of the organization from every perspective. 

Checklist for Employee Exit Process:

  • COMMUNICATION :It can be the “ Employee Initiated Resignation “ or “ Employer Initiated Termination “. The employee who resigned would be communicating about his/ her resignation to his senior i.e. his immediate Reporting Manager. The  Reporting Manager would initiate to know the reason for the resignation from the employee  and would try to take every necessary steps  to retain the employee 

But if the employee is determined to resign, then the employee needs to communicate about his/ resignation to the HR Department. Accordingly, the HR Department would communicate the same to the respective team members and the necessary departments. The HR would initiate the process for the smooth, effective transfer of work. Therefore, the departing employee is being informed about the date for Exit Interview

  • DOCUMENTATION OR PAPER WORK :  Certain things should be checked by the HR Department before the last working day of the employee. These are:
  1. The Resignation Letter should be signed by the employee and if it is a Termination Letter, that needs to be acknowledged by the employee.  
  2. Non-Disclosure Agreement with the relevant forms for the company’s security.
  3. Full and Final Settlement between the employee and the employer.
  4. Gratuity payable to the employee, if the employee is eligible for and if the company is eligible to provide gratuity to their employee.
  5. The HR would draft the Release Letter and Experience Letter which should specify the last working day of the employee , his Designation , CTC, Duration of the service period, location etc.
  6. The Experience Letter and the Release Letter should be received by the employee. 
  •  KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER:   If a new employee is already hired as a replacement of the departing employee, before the last working day of the departing employee, then the departing employee can share their knowledge and expertise with the new employee. Therefore the company may schedule a meeting between both the employees. Same time, the new hire can capture certain insights from the departing employee which may not be possible in a training program. It would involve” Checklist for Job Handover”. Those are
  1. Contacts with the Clients, Vendors, Employees, Email IDs. 
  2. Daily Job Role which involves Daily duties, Weekly duties, Monthly duties, Protocols, Roles, Reporting Supervisor, Process Flows. 
  3. Documents involving the Checklist, Background Information and Client Presentation, Departmental Documents, Logbooks, Important Links.
  •  RECOVERING COMPANY ASSETS :It is the sole responsibility of the HR Department to recover every assets ( that was given during the service tenure) from the departing employee before the last working day of the employee. Such assets can be Computer, Laptops, Keys, Company Files, Folders, Swipe Cards, and ID Cards etc.
  •  UPDATING ACCESS AND IT PERMISSION: The HR Department should ask the IT Department that the employee’s login and their access to PC should be no longer available to the departing employee. Therefore if any sensitive credentials are known to the employee, that should be changed and their entrance access should be stopped. If the departing employee is in a client handling role, then the HR should decide after taking the approval from the management that whether the clients should be informed about the departure of the employee. All these are the very important task in order to maintain the confidentiality and security of the company.
  • FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENT  :  It specifies about the dues from both end : Employer side due and Employee Side Due.  The Full and Final Settlement can be Positive or Negative. The Full and Final Settlement can be Positive or Negative. When there is employee side due, that is, when the employer should be paying to the employee, it is knows as Positive Balance. When there is the employer side due, that is, when the employee should be paying to the employee, it is known as Negative Balance. So Full and Final Settlement takes place in case of Resignation , Termination, Retirement , Voluntary Retirement. .It covers every calculation up till the last working day and it includes any extra/ additional deductions or earnings, if any. Usually 30 to 45 days are required to complete the entire process of Full and Final Settlement. 
  • SETTLING SALARY NEGOTIATIONS : If the resigned employee happens to be the asset employee  for the company, then there should be certain retention strategy methods like increment or promotion or a hike in the salary that might change the employee’s decision for resignation. But if the employee is already determined for  resignation , then the respective HOD and the HR should support the decision of the employee.
  • EXIT INTERVIEW: It is one of the important and essential steps of the Employee off Boarding Process. During the process, the HR would again try to understand the reason for Resignation and may be for the last time, would initiate to retain the employee, if the employee’s contribution towards the company is super and if the employee is the asset employee of the company. A reputed good organization always initiates to take the feedback from the departing employee, as the organizations feel that the “Feedbacks” would help the organization to improve from every perspective in order to produce better results. It has been observed that sometimes the departing employees give valuable insights for the organizations. 

Exit Interview Questions:

  1. What has made you accept your new job ?
  2. How can we provide support to the new employee (new hire) in your position?
  3. How can we improve our company culture?
  4. Describe your relation with your reporting manager during the service tenure 
  5. Describe your relation with your colleagues and subordinates during your service period. 
  6. Describe your relation with the clients of our company 
  7. What do you feel, what can be implemented and executed for success, growth, efficiency , productivity of the organization
  8. Were you Satisfied working with us?
  9. What is the most embarrassing situation you have faced in this organization?
  10. Please mention the amount of rise in your new assignment 
  11. Would you recommend anyone from your network to join the organization?
  12. What suggestions do you have to make the organization a better place to work?
  13. Would you rejoin this organization, if given an offer in future? If yes, on what terms?
  14. Do you feel you have the enough resources and support necessary to accomplish your job?
  15. What was more satisfying about your job ?
  16. What circumstances prompted you to start looking for another job?
  17. Do you think the management adequately recognized employee contribution?. If Not, how do you think the recognition can be improved?
  18. Were there any company policies you found difficult to understand? How can the company make them clearer?
  19. Is there anything your new company offers that this company does not offer?
  20. Do you feel you had the necessary training to be successful in your role? If not, how could it have been better?
  21. What was the best part of your job?
  22. What do you like least about your job?
  23. How can the organization improve?
  24. Do you have any suggestions for improving employee morale?
  25. Do you  have any concerns about the company you would like to share 
  26. Did you have any recommendations for the company for the future 
  27. Is there anything else, you would like to add 

Notice Period

The employee who has decided to leave the organization , should be drafting a Resignation Letter to his/ her Reporting Manager, specifying the reason for the Resignation.  It is the time period between the acceptance date of the Resignation Letter of the employee and the Last Working day of the employee.  

The Notice Period can be for 15 days/ 20 days/ 1 month/ 2month/ 3 month etc. which depends upon the HR Policy of the company. The Notice Period is a very important, essential feature of the Employee off Boarding Process, as it should give time to the Employer to find the replacement of the departing employee who can be assigned the responsibility of taking the handover of the Departing Employee’s work. 

Therefore it is very much important for the departing employee to serve a proper Notice Period as per the terms and conditions, rules and regulations of the company, because it takes time to delegate the responsibility to the new hire/ new employee and it takes time in finding someone with the required/ necessary talent and the skills to close the vacant position. The Notice Period begins after the Acceptance of the Resignation Letter.

When the employer decides to Terminate any employee, sometimes the employer allows the employee to serve a Notice Period , so that the employee can manage sometime to search for their job , and meanwhile the employer can also try their best  to get the replacement of the terminated employee. 

It has been observed that sometimes sudden termination also takes place from the employer towards the employee, without any prior notice, if any such major misconduct is done by the employee. 

Rules of Notice Period:

  • During the Notice Period, employees are not eligible for any kind of leaves, even if they have any leave balance. Still if the employees are availing any leave during the Notice Period, then there will be LOP ( Loss of Pay) or LWP ( Leave Without Pay) for the employee for the number of days the employee is absent for. It has been observed that sometimes the employees does not want any deduction in their salary , so if they have availed  leaves during the Notice Period and if they does not want any deduction to happen , then the employee needs to extend his/ her Notice Period, in accordance with the no of absent days of the employee.

For example, if the employee is in the Notice Period for the entire Jan 23, and the specified company has the Notice Period for 30 days. The employee was absent for 5 days, that is from 15th to 20th Jan. So as per the rule, the employee is eligible for 5 days LOP/ LWP. But if she /he does not want any deduction , then  the employee needs to work 5 more days extra beyond 30th Jan . That means, the employee needs to serve the Notice Period till 4th Feb , instead of 30th Jan. 

  • If the salary credit day falls during the Notice Period  of the departing employee, then the departing employee’s salary would be adjusted at the time of Full and Final Settlement .  For ex, if the employee is in the Notice Period for the Entire Jan 2023, and if the salary credit day is 10th of every month , then the departing employee would be receiving his salary for Jan23, at the time of FnF Settlement after serving the Notice Period. 

Full and Final Settlement: 

It is the process of calculating the different types of dues payable to the employees from the employer who has resigned , retired, voluntarily retired, terminated or removed by the management. Same time, it is the process of calculating the different kinds of dues payable to the employer from the employee. For example, if the employee has availed any kinds of ‘Loans or Advances” from the company. Full and Final Settlement also includes additional income and additional deductions, if any. 

It includes the Fixed Compensation, Variable Compensation , Bonus, Incentives, Reimbursements etc.

Major Activities Involved in the Full and Final Settlement: 

  •  IT Clearance 
  • Financial Clearance
  • Unavailed Leaves and Bonus
  • Employee Provident Fund / Pension
  • Gratuity
  • Deductions from Full and Final Settlement
  • HR Clearance
  • Admin Clearance

 When Does Full and Final Settlement Takes Place:

Please note that whether the employee is resigned or terminated or removed by the management , should be having the right to get every dues within a stipulated time period.  Generally it takes 30 to 45 days to finalize the process from the employees last working day. 

If by chance, the employer is not able to fulfill the requirements of the  Full and Final Settlement, the employee can take it ahead legally and the employer is liable to pay all the dues along with the interest , as a penalty.

Full and Final Settlement Payslip Format:

  • Name of the Employee
  • Employee ID 
  • Date of Resignation 
  • Reasons for Leaving 
  • Details of FnF settlement amount. 

Steps of Exit Interview:

For ex, when Regional Sales Head : Retail Liability , resigned from Standard Chartered Bank from the N.S Rd Branch, the following steps should be followed. 

  • Initiation for Resignation : Resignation Letter
  • Identifying the employee is the “ Asset Employee “ or “ Liability Employee “ .
  • If the employee who resigned is a Liability Employee, then there is no need for “Retention Strategy “. If the employee happens to be the “ Asset Employee “ for the organization , then there will be counseling session  to retain the employee . It is so because the success, growth, brand image , efficiency, productivity , business etc.  of the organization goes up with the work contribution made by the high performers. 
  • Organizing Counseling session for Retention through the process of “Customization of Retention Strategy” . That means , during the counseling , the employer or the management should be initiating to provide certain extra benefits to the employee so that the employee can be convinced and can withdraw the “ Resignation Letter “ . But many times, in spite of providing some additional benefits, the employee is not convinced to take back the Resignation Letter. Then in that case, there should be “ Resignation Acceptance”
  • Beginning of the Notice Period 
  • Exit Formalities 
  • Full and Final Settlement 
  • Release Letter and Experience Letter  

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