What is Offboarding? Here’s Everything Employers Need to Know

  • Recruitment/HR
offboarding process
Kiran Virk

Kiran Virk, Head of Talent Acquisition

(Last updated )

You may be familiar with onboarding which helps employers integrate new hires into their business through training, mentorship programs, etc.  But what is offboarding?  Offboarding  process allows employers to wrap up the employment relationship with a departing employee smoothly.  

The pace of the offboarding process will depend on if the employee has: 

  • Resigned 
  • Is retiring 
  • Has been terminated 

A strong offboarding process will: 

  • Allow employees to transition gracefully out of your company.  
  • Ensure pay continuation and protect you from potential lawsuits for unpaid wages.  
  • Make it easier for the next employee in the role to transition.  
  • Increase efficiency.  
  • Protect your business from potential lawsuits (for example, pay disputes, wrongful dismissal claims, etc.)   
  • Secure your company’s data, IP, and physical property.  

An employee offboarding process will help ensure employees leave with a good impression of your business – spreading positive word of mouth for your company.  

As an employer, you must have a proper employee offboarding process in place.  

What not to do when offboarding 

Offboarding ensures that the transition is easy when an employee leaves your company. However, there are certain things you should avoid throughout this process.  

Things to avoid:  

  • Behaving in a way that may open your business up to legal action (for instance, wage disputes, wrongful dismissal claims).  
  • Criticizing, attacking, or airing grievances.  
  • Aggressively pressing an employee on the reason for their departure.   

Offboarding checklist  

Following a checklist throughout offboarding will ensure your offboarding process is consistent from employee to employee. It will also help you follow your company’s policy for offboarding. Make sure that you train your managers on your employee offboarding process.  

Your offboarding checklist should cover: 

Employee records  

You must keep records of past employees. Employment standards legislation in many provinces requires that you hold on to employee records for a certain period. For example, in Ontario, employers are required to keep employee records for a period of three years.  

Ensure necessary offboarding documentation is provided and signed  

When an employee departs your company, offboarding documentation must be provided to or by the employee before departure. When offboarding employees, relevant documentation will depend on whether the departure is voluntary or not.  

Examples of offboarding documentation include: 

Resignation letters  

If the employee is resigning, ensure you have received the employee’s resignation letter.  

The resignation letter should include the employees:  

  • Name 
  • Role  
  • Last day of work  

Termination letters 

If the employee is being terminated, make sure you provide them with a  termination letter.  

The termination letter should include the employees:   

  • Last day of work  
  • Working notice period or information on pay in lieu
  • Severance pay that is owed (if applicable)
  • Information on benefits

Full and final release forms  

To release yourself of any legal liability, you may present the employee with a  full and final release form. You may provide this regardless of whether you are offboarding an employee due to a resignation or termination. Pay or benefits provided through this release must be in addition to what is provided under provincial employment legislation (for example, the Employment Standards Act). Providing these extras during the offboarding process may mean spending more money upfront. But it will grant you peace of mind knowing that employee claims, such as wrongful dismissal claims, are no longer something you need to worry about.   

Ensure a successful transfer of knowledge  

A successful knowledge transfer and proper handoff of responsibilities is essential during offboarding. This will ensure that the person who takes over for the departing employee can easily transition into the role.  

This will include:  

  • Learning what the employee’s day-to-day looks like and how they work (i.e. their routine).   
  • Making sure you have access to files and systems the next person in the role will require.  
  • Gauging what training is required for this role. This will inform the onboarding process.  

Once you have done this, the employee can complete an official handoff of all responsibilities and duties.  

Holding an exit interview  

Holding an exit interview is an essential element of the offboarding process. These interviews allow the employee to share any parting thoughts they may have, including any issues they experienced while in their role. And you’ll have the opportunity to thank them for their contributions to the company. This will leave the door open to stay in touch and help ensure a positive impression of your business after the offboarding process.  

Additionally, these interviews may give your HR and hiring managers helpful feedback on what your business is doing well and areas it can improve upon.  

After the exit interview, consider providing a wrap-up/goodbye letter.  

Securing data/physical property and updating company records  

According to a study, 1 in 4 employees surveyed shared that they still had access to accounts from past jobs. Oversights like this during the offboarding process can pose a major threat to your business’s security.  

You must secure your data by removing departing employees from your systems and ensuring they can no longer access your data.  

You must also secure your physical property by requesting that the departing employee returns all company equipment in their possession.  

Company equipment to collect during offboarding may include:  

  • Laptop/desktop computers  
  • Monitors  
  • Cell phones  
  • Key cards  

If the employee works from home, you may arrange for the employee to package and ship the equipment to you.  

Remaining offboarding tasks   

To successfully conclude the offboarding process, you must ensure that you tie up any loose ends regarding the individual’s employment.  

This includes:  

  • Providing final pay and any owed vacation pay  
  • Updating company site, directories, and organization charts to reflect that the employee is no longer with your company  
  • Issue their ROE (Record of Employment)  

Do you need help developing an effective offboarding process?  

Our HR experts can give you  24/7 employer advice  and help you develop an offboarding process that ensures employees leave your business on a positive note. We can also tailor your employment contracts and company policies to help you stay compliant with the law.  Call us today at 1 (833) 247-3652 and See how we’ve helped over 6,000 businesses across Canada .

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