What is employee offboarding?


Employee offboarding is the strategic process of transitioning which kicks in when your employee decides to transition from your organization into another venture. The process involves various dimensions such as expertise sharing, exit interviews, recovery of assets, and finishing up the necessary forms and formalities.

Employee offboarding makes your employees feel valued, honored, and appreciated throughout their separation process with the company. It strengthens your relationship with them and leaves them with a pleasant impression of the organization.

Why is it important?

It’s popularly believed that employees leaving an organization is bad because a lot of resources go into hiring, training and nurturing an employee. However in reality employees leave organizations for a variety of reasons some of which are even initiated by the organization itself - 1) Retirements 2) Layoffs 3) Desire to pursue something new 4) Relocations due to personal reasons 5) Better compensation or title 6) Disconnect with company’s goals or values, etc

No matter why your employees are leaving, they deserve a good offboarding experience. So do you. And this is why

Best practices in employee offboarding

Start by hearing them out

When an employee informs you that he or she is leaving, make time for them. Make it your priority to hear them out and understand why they are making the decision. How you treat your employees when they decide to leave you says a lot about you as an employer. Extend all the help you can to make sure they have a swift transition. This time period can also allow you an opportunity to change a valuable employee’s mind and retain them in the organization.

Prepare your people for the move

Communicate the change to all the concerned people as early as possible. This can stop rumors from spreading. You don’t want your employees to run on assumptions. For example, hearing that a co-worker was fired, or is leaving for a better offer might spread negatively if not communicated on time. So encourage your managers or team supervisors to let their team know. The communication can include simple details such as:
- When the employee is leaving
- Why they are leaving
- Who will be filling in their shoes
- Any other transition measures you are taking

Show appreciation

This might be your last chance to tell them how much they mattered to you. Have an honest conversation with them. Highlight their strengths, achievements, and significant contributions in the company. Tell them what you see in them that they don’t - hidden abilities or unnoticed skills so they can hone it as they continue their professional journey elsewhere.

Facilitate knowledge transfer

Your employees bring in skills and abilities and gain so much institutional knowledge on their role. Unless it’s documented, it’s going to simply be lost once they leave. The next person in their role will have to start from scratch.

The knowledge transfer process allows them to document the vital pointers for your future employees or others in the team. It could include details such as repetitive projects they work on throughout the year, systems or software they use every day, POCs for different departments, any training material they received, etc.

As a part of the knowledge transfer process, you could also ask your new hires or other teammates to closely work with them and observe them in action. Conduct sessions where your departing employees can share wisdom on how they handled difficult situations or problems in the past.

Write an attractive recommendation

It’s sad to see good employees leave. Even when it’s for the better. You want to do everything you can to help them transition into a new job or the next step in their professional venture. An attractive LinkedIn recommendation would clearly make a statement. You could also introduce them to your other connections who can offer them a good job, especially if they were terminated or laid off during a difficult season.

Show them how they can keep in touch

It could be as simple as getting their personal email and phone number or asking them which social media platform they are most active on. Even after an employee moves out, send them a message or an email once in a while, invite them over to lunch, reach out when you have professional events. Show them you truly cared and still do.

Employee offboarding checklist

During the offboarding period
On the employee’s last day


After the employee leaves

Email templates for your offboarding process

#1 Email template to announce that an employee is leaving

Dear Team,

We are saddened to announce that our Chief product officer Paula will be leaving <COMPANY NAME> and will be pursuing her passion through a different venture.

Paula joined us 7 years ago and has played a key role in achieving <List of top achievements: A, B, C, and D>. On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank Paula for her leadership and strategic insights on her role and wish her the professional best in her upcoming season.
Paula will be with us until the end of June, post which until further announcement, Theodore will be the acting Chief Product Officer.

I know we can always turn to her for advice in a time of need.


#2 Email template to acknowledge resignation

Dear Penelope,

This is to acknowledge that your resignation from the position of Data Analyst has been accepted, effective on 12/12/20 as per our discussion.

We were greatly privileged to have had you with us for almost a decade and wish you the best in your next endeavour. Do let us know if there is anything else we could do to ease this transition

Keep in touch,

The importance of exit interviews

An exit interview is a chance to have an open conversation with your outgoing employees on why they are truly leaving, what you could have done better and their experience with your people, culture and company as a whole. It makes room for some authentic conversations. Make sure you get the right person to conduct the exit interviews so your employees can comfortably give feedback and share their thoughts without inhibitions. You could also consider anonymous online exit interviews. Here are some questions to help you make the most of it.

As you sit through hundreds of conversations, exit interviews will point you to patterns in your organization that you will want to remove or reinforce. You will mine gold from them. 

Offboarding with Freshteam 

Handle forms and formalities with care

You can send your employees forms to fill and documents to sign before they leave, over Freshteam in a click of a button. It’s paperless, fast, and secure.

Resignation approval workflows 

Freshteam allows you to set up resignation approval workflows. Both managers and HR partners can raise resignation requests. The ones raised by managers are sent to HR managers, while those raised by HR partners are auto-approved.

Get people concerned on the same page

You can create a sequence of offboarding tasks and assign them to the concerned people in the company to help your employee have a trouble-free exit. This can include tasks such as revoking access to software, conducting an exit interview, filling out a manager feedback form, a brief on benefits they can claim, etc.

Send thoughtful reminders 

An employee who is transitioning from one company to another can have a lot on their hands. They have pending projects to finish, documentation to make for their new job, farewell conversations, handling IT clearance and so on. With Freshteam, you can create a list of offboarding tasks for them and also follow them up with gentle periodic reminders.

Keeping your connections on

Don’t stop at your employee’s last day. Your employees can turn out to be fantastic ambassadors for your company and culture. Or even your customers. Or your employees again. You never know. Leave the door open for them. Build a nurture program where you can send out communications to your ex-employees on what’s happening in the organization - events, updates, upcoming roles (in case they want to come back).

At the end of the day, be nice to your people for no reason. Remember it’s a small world.

More in detail on Freshteam

Freshteam is a simple HR software with in-depth features created for today’s fast-growing businesses. It streamlines applicant tracking, employee onboarding, employee database management, and time-off management, all from one place. Some of the feature highlights include powerful job board integrations, smart analytics and insights, an intuitive mobile app, and recruitment automation that cut down everyday HR chores by at least 50%. All this at an unbeatable price.

They love us, you will too.