At wattsnext we work with many clients who have found great value in the on-boarding process. The experiences of their staff in their first 90 days with their business has improved exponentially since bringing in these processes.

What I don’t find as great a focus is the off-boarding process, with many businesses overlooking the importance of off-boarding.  Research from Aberdeen’s 2012 Strategic On-boarding reports suggests that only 37% of organisations have an off boarding process in place.

As businesses, we need to understand the value in transitioning employees out of the workplace and re-align our thinking to have stronger off boarding processes.

I imagine you are asking yourself why put in the effort?  The employee is leaving, they are likely to have disengaged and all you need to so is arrange for everyone to put their name on a card and the process is done – right?  Wrong!  Let me tell you why.

Employees have power.  They can either be an advocate or a detractor for your business; your best brand ambassador or the person that could potentially cause damage.  They have a voice and they have access to a multitude of various outlets to voice their opinions – good and bad – so it has never been more important to look at how your people are leaving your business.

Off-boarding must be more than just the logistics; more than returning their keys, swipe cards and computers.  More than buying a cake and a card.  You have to ensure that when your employee leaves your business that they remain a positive influence for your company.

Consider the following when it comes time to say goodbye:

  1. Ensure that the employee has left with a smile on their face; there is always the adage that you should ‘never burn your bridges’ but this should also be said for employers.  You have to remember that your departing employee could one day be your client, or at best, your employee once again.  Make sure that they think of you fondly.
  2. Make sure there is a process in place; assist with transition processes such as final pay details, arrange a suitable handover process and ensure that adequate time is spent handing property over – both physical and intellectual. Put your backyard in order by ensuring that the employee’s email has been redirected so you don’t miss important messages, that an appropriate ‘out of office’ has been set up and reminders around confidentiality have been discussed.
  3. Undertake an Exit Interview; this is a great opportunity to understand if there are any undercurrent Cultural issues in play, confirm that your company is heading in the right direction and whether the Management team is performing favourably.  Exit Interviews are cost effective, you get a more accurate point of view as the exiting employee might be more transparent with you and they can increase retention as they might identify a negative trend that you can reverse to stop further resignations.

So, now that you have a killer on-boarding program, is it not time to consider a similar off-boarding process as well?

Author: wattsnext Group
The wattsnext Group blog is a compilation of ideas and expertise from the entire team, past and present with a few added gems from guest authors from time to time. With this collaborative approach, we can provide you with a broader perspective and high-level expertise across the small business landscape.