Using Technology To Craft Positive Offboarding Experiences


The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt by organizations and employees in many industries. However, there is cause for hope in the upcoming year, writes Melanie Lougee, head of employee workflow strategy at ServiceNow.

Not only are many feeling hopeful with the rollout of vaccines, but the pivot to remote work greatly expanded talent pools as working from anywhere is firmly part of the new normal. As cities and countries begin to reopen following the wide distribution of the vaccine, industries will be able to jumpstart hiring. That process may include bringing back former employees and sourcing new talent who can work from anywhere.

Thinking about how quickly circumstances can change for organizations and employees, we see it as imperative for companies to offer a positive offboarding experience, one that is filled with compassion and builds ongoing relationships with employees after they depart a company.

The New Reality of Increased Talent Mobility

People are already starting to take advantage of the shift to remote work, going after jobs that geography might have previously discouraged them from pursuing. Those dream jobs in other cities that were previously unavailable to them are now within their grasp, with more than 70% of managers saying they are more open to flexible models for their teams than they were before 2020, according to BCG.

More than ever, people are prepared to seek out new prospects for growth and development. Deloitte explains that in 2020 workers were given more agency and choice to explore their potential. In 2021 and beyond, we will see talent mobility continue to trend upward as employees look to expand their skillset and deepen their expertise.

Organizations must accommodate this new aspect of talent mobility by designing offboarding processes that keep departing employees happy and set remaining team members up for success. There are a myriad of emotions accompanied with an employee’s departure, regardless of their reason for leaving, and each scenario is unique.

Employers that support talent through this transition by guiding employees with clear steps and a seamless process stand to benefit. By smoothly and successfully seeing an employee off, it allows for the possibility of their return and preserves employee sentiment.

Conversely, if the last interaction with a company is a clunky, manual, and drawn-out mess, employees will have their final memory of working for the company be one of frustration and may share their experience with others.

Use Automation To Untangle the Mess

The offboarding process can be a maze. Employees and managers alike will likely have many questions, such as who to notify first and the information needed to transition roles and responsibilities. And often, the steps required to disentangle from a company can be grueling as employees navigate payroll, returning equipment, deactivating security passes, and transferring benefits.

This is where offboarding technology solution can, and must, shine to ensure a smooth transition. An end-to-end offboarding solution will :

  • ensure all steps of the offboarding process are followed
  • give employees access to the information and resources needed
  • connect cross-departmental teams (from HR to IT, facilities, and legal) involved in offboarding an employee

HR teams will benefit as they’ll no longer be consumed with inefficient, manual processes that can leave opportunities for missed steps or miscommunications. For example, it is commonplace for HR teams to handle the myriad security, legal, and payroll issues associated with offboarding. In doing so, they are unable to help guide employees through the process of a voluntary separation. An offboarding solution will connect employees and managers to the right teams throughout the process so the burden is lifted from HR alone.

By automating the most time-consuming pieces of offboarding, HR representatives will be able to focus on ensuring an employee’s transition is meaningful and handled with grace. They can guide the departing employee through every step of the transition and provide support throughout the process. And they can help managers successfully transition team members.

Empower HR To Focus on What Matters

When the HR team’s focus can shift from paperwork and process to people, they are able to influence a truly successful offboarding.

The departing employee is left feeling that they have completed this chapter on a positive note. Similarly, the leaving employee’s manager can be assisted through this process to ensure that they are adjusting roles and responsibilities across the team well in advance. The remaining employees are put in the best position possible by not having work unceremoniously dumped on them without warning.

This helps to keep relationships intact between the departing employees and those who remain.

Alumni Can Be Difference Makers

Eventually, some alumni may yearn to go back to their previous employer. And, as the world rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will be able to hire again and bring back furloughed employees. The return of an employee can be mutually beneficial and exciting for the company and the employee.

Returning employees can share what they’ve learned at their other career stops with the colleagues they’ve rejoined, as well as other new hires. This extends the growth and development across their team, providing a benefit for everyone.

With that in mind, a company’s relationship with an employee shouldn’t end on the departing employee’s last day. Companies should find ways to stay connected with alumni – through online communities that share company news and job postings, networking opportunities, and more. Maintaining relationships will not only increase the likelihood that a departing employee will return, but it can also boost morale and productivity while driving down training and hiring costs.

Offboard To Reboard

Companies that dedicate themselves to providing an end-to-end employee experience must pay the same attention to the final piece of the employee journey as they do to the first step.

By harnessing an offboarding solution that empowers HR teams to truly set up a departing employee for success, they can send off an employee toward a path of growth and development that just might lead them right back to where they started. The companies that handle offboarding with respect and grace will be the ones to thrive