There comes a point in everyone’s professional life when you make a career switch. You decide to move on from the current organization for multiple reasons—the role doesn’t excite you anymore or you want to pursue better opportunities. No matter what the reason, every person exiting an organization has to undergo an offboarding process.

Read on to explore the meaning of offboarding, the process involved and ways to navigate it.

  1. Meaning Of Offboarding

  2. Why A Strong Employee Offboarding Program Is Crucial

  3. What Should You Include In Your Offboarding Checklist?

  4. Navigating The Important Aspect Of Offboarding

Meaning Of Offboarding

You’ve probably heard the term ‘onboarding’. It’s the processes associated with entering an organization. By contrast, offboarding happens at the end of an employee’s tenure. At its simplest, the offboarding process helps organizations manage the departure of employees to ensure consistency and reduce turnover rates and other risks in the future. It’s a formal separation between an employee and an organization through retirement, resignation or termination.

Several enterprises even spend their resources on creating a strong employee offboarding program. While it varies from one organization to another, a typical offboarding process includes:

  • Transferring employee’s responsibilities
  • Turning in office equipment
  • Deactivating access rights and passwords
  • Conducting an exit interview

In a nutshell, an employee offboarding process ensures there aren’t any loose ends and you leave the organization on amicable terms. 

Why A Strong Employee Offboarding Program Is Crucial

Both employees and the organization benefit from a watertight offboarding program. Let’s look at the advantages closely:

  • It reduces the chances of misunderstanding and encourages both parties to maintain a positive relationship. For example, you can reach out to your ex-colleagues in the future if you need some help to seek opportunities for networking, growth and development.

  • Studies show that many employees return to the same place of work in the future. Whether they quit the organization for better opportunities or to pursue higher education, employees who’ve had a positive experience often come back. It’s beneficial for organizations, too, as these employees are already familiar with the mission, vision and values.

  • It’s your chance to provide honest and constructive feedback to employers. Not only do you reflect on your experience with the organization, but you also make note of the different areas of self-improvement and professional development. This acts as valuable insight for organizations that they can use to boost their workplace culture.

Just like organizations have a strategy in place for offboarding employees, you can create your own offboarding checklist to ensure a smooth exit. 

What Should You Include In Your Offboarding Checklist?

Businesses often have their own employee offboarding checklist to ensure smooth transitions. You can create your own checklist too and make sure you tie any loose ends before you say your goodbyes. Consider this list of things before your departure:

  • Handing over organizational assets and access

  • Communicating your decision with internal and external stakeholders on time

  • Checking in with employers about any pending reimbursements, compensation or tax and benefits documents

  • Preparing for your exit interview

Depending on your role and position in the workplace, your organization may require you to participate in the handoff process. You may have to train or take part in the training process for your replacement. 

Navigating The Important Aspect Of Offboarding

One of the most important aspects of the offboarding procedure is the exit interview.  A typical exit interview is led by HR or sometimes by your manager. It serves as a formal outlet for you to provide honest insights and impressions about the organization. However, you don’t want to say something that upsets your interviewer as it may ruin the chances of maintaining a positive relationship in the future.

Here are dos and don’ts that’ll help you navigate this stage of the offboarding procedure:

  • Never take your exit interview casually; use the opportunity to plan and prepare, as you would for a job interview

  • If you have any pent-up frustrations toward any of your coworkers, it’s best to vent ahead of time and not unload them during your exit interview

  • Being too candid or critical can give your employers the wrong impression; instead, focus on providing constructive feedback that’ll help them identify and address those issues

Organizations want to recognize areas of improvement and incorporate your valuable feedback into their processes. Be sure to mention both points of improvement and what you learned during your tenure; provide the perfect closure.

If you want to provide diplomatic and constructive answers that enhance the quality of your offboarding process, you need to assess and reflect on your workplace culture and power structures. Harappa’s Navigating Workplaces course will teach you everything about navigating workplace politics and the types of powers people hold at work. Try Harappa and identify your cultural fit to provide constructive feedback as you bid adieu to your organization.


Explore topics such as What Is Management By Objectives, The Importance Of Organizational StructureTypes of Organizational StructureMatrix Organizational Structure & The Difference Between Functional and Divisional Structure from Harappa Diaries and understand organizational culture and needs.

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