Employee Offboarding Process 2023: Here's why you need a checklist to guide you.

Navigate the intricacies of employee offboarding with our comprehensive guide, designed to ensure a graceful exit for employees while fortifying your company's reputation and morale.
Preeti Bhatt
Preeti Bhatt
Running short on time? Read the highlights
  • A formalised offboarding process helps smoothen transition maintaining mutual respect with the departing employee.
  • The process should be broken down into a checklist to follow a standardised, tactical plan.
  • Provide clear communication and paperwork guidance for smooth transitions.
  • Conduct insightful exit interviews for organizational learning and development.
  • Secure company data with prompt revocation of account access.
  • Part on good terms, turning ex-employees into potential boomerang hires and brand advocates.
  • Maintain a positive company culture that resonates with current and future talent.

You can love him.

You can hate him.

But you can't blame him.

Despite trying to prove to his father that he was just as deserving, Thor was always Odin's first choice!

Then, one day, Loki found out he wasn't Odin's real son. And Asgard no longer felt like home.

The worst?

Instead of helping him through that tough offboarding process, Odin revoked Loki's powers in the harshest way possible!

As anyone would, the God of Mischief snapped!

Anyhow, you might be wondering what's the point of talking about comic characters when we should be talking about employee offboarding?

Well, that’s because many parts of Loki’s life resemble the ramifications of not following proper offboarding steps.

A company is a second home to an employee. And when they're leaving the organization – whether they've resigned or been asked to leave – they need help from the HR team and their managers to see them through.

Also known as Employee Exit Management, the offboarding process is an exit strategy designed to simplify the transition for employees, so they do not leave the company on a sour note.

If not done right, offboarding can feel like an awkwardly long goodbye. When done right, it feels like an intentional and well thought out series of steps an organization can take to show exiting employees the same respect they showed them when they joined. How you treat an exiting employee is a strong signal to you employees who are staying.

Nevertheless, many companies fail to follow proper offboarding steps, leaving employees feeling confused and isolated during their notice period. Result? They can snap! Much like Loki.

Leaving negative reviews on Glassdoor, Google and Ambition Box, taking to social media platforms to vent about their experiences, or in extreme cases, filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination - are all consequences of a poorly managed offboarding process.

And can you really blame them?

And we can't insist enough on the negative press on social platforms thats hits the talent acquisition department the hardest! This means that not only will you be parting ways with an employee on bad terms, but not paying attention to the offboarding process steps will also divert the best talent away from you!

Why does the off-boarding process need a checklist?

There is a lot of paperwork and logistics involved when an employee leaves a company. Every step of the offboarding process, be it conducting exit interviews, calculating the final payslip, disabling benefits, collecting IT devices or disabling software accounts — all of them are equally critical.

To ensure no step is overlooked a company needs to formalize an offboarding process and break it down into a checklist. The checklist becomes a tactical plan for each departing employee. If you don't formalize it as a process and manage it on a case-by-case basis, you'll struggle to deliver a consistent exit experience for departing employees. The way you make an employee feel on their way out sends a strong message to those who remain, so you want it done correctly, every time.

The goal of an offboarding process is to get two things right -

  • The first is ensuring departing employees fully understand the exit formalities that need to be completed, whether it is administrative activities like sending out a resignation notice or documenting work that needs to be handed over to someone else.
  • Second, make sure a paper trail of the exit process is maintained so you don't get caught off guard in a wrongful termination claim. It is imperative that any sensitive data regarding customers, businesses, or revenues is protected and that all data leaks are minimized.

One common thing that makes offboarding messy is the lack of communication between the parties involved — the employee, manager, HR team, and the IT team.

Getting started with your checklist

#1. Make the exit official

Whether employees have been fired or resigned, HR must make things official.

  • The first logical step is to send them an acknowledgement email. Thank them for their services and assure them that they can contact their managers or the HR department for assistance or concerns regarding their exit.
  • Remember, when an employee leaves, it also impacts the rest of the team. It can throw some team members off balance emotionally. Besides, the workload of the leaving employee will also be divided between the rest of the team before a suitable replacement is hired. Therefore, ensure that the exit is conveyed to the rest of the team as soon as possible
  • Do ensure that the departing employee signs a letter of resignation and document every step of the entire offboarding process to avoid the hassles of a wrongful termination lawsuit later on.

Why is it important?

Resigning from a position can be an emotional decision for an employee. An respectful and appreciative acknowledgment can provide closure and make the process less stressful for the departing employee.It is crucial for team members to know when someone is leaving so they can adjust their work accordingly. It may involve redistributing tasks, taking over projects, or taking on responsibilities previously held by the departing employee. Some people find losing a team member emotionally difficult, especially if the departing employee had close working relationships or friendships. It provides members with an opportunity to express their feelings and process the news.

#2. Get started with the paperwork

Payment-related matters are the first thing that ticks like a time bomb in the minds of departing employees. Instead of making them restless, reach out to them and inform them that paperwork has been started.

Once the employee offboarding process begins, you need to prepare the following documents:

  • The income tax form
  • The no-dues certificate
  • The experience letter

Give them further clarity on -

  • What happens to unused paid leaves?
  • How soon will reimbursement be released? Will it be released with the final paycheck or sooner than that?
  • What happens to their ESOPs (if applicable) — how do they exercise them?
  • Are they able to keep the health insurance before their next company covers them?

Why is it important?

Small gestures go a long way!

Offboarding can be stressful for an employee — creating unnecessary suspense around money matters is just piling on.

You don't want to be that company. Because this will negatively affect not only the employee who is leaving, but also the rest of the employees. After all, if you can do it with someone leaving, it's implied that you are capable of doing it to your existing employees as well - this is what you want to avoid!

A few things you can do as a goodwill gesture are —

  • One of the nice things you can do for a departing employee is extend their health insurance for a few months.
  • Be fair in your treatment to them — do not create complications when it comes to the company's policy about reimbursements and the final paycheck.

#3. Communicate the KT (Knowledge Transfer) requirement properly

Although handling KT is the responsibility of managers, HR plays a significant role too — you have to communicate the right time to start the KT process to the manager. Whether a replacement has been hired or whether the remaining team will have to share the workload, the manager will need clarity on these matters.

Why is it important?

Employees are knowledge reservoirs. Unless there is a proper knowledge transfer (KT) process, the company will have to invest a lot of time in training a new employee. It will be a waste of time and resources.

#4. Handover a checklist to the departing employee

They need guidance on what you’re expecting from them. The ideal offboarding checklist for a departing employee includes the following:

  • The handover documents they’re supposed to prepare
  • Give them clarity on returning the company assets — have a form in place where they can fill in details about the assets they currently own and when they should return those assets
  • Whenever you hold an exit interview, let the employees know. The best way is to ask them when they are most comfortable with the interview and if they would not like any particular person to participate in it. If the employee is intimidated or too shy to give an interview, provide the employee with an exit survey form. Instruct the employee that the form will remain anonymous.

Why is it important?

A checklist containing all the offboarding steps you want them to follow will make life easier for both the employee and the company. They won't be confused about what you expect them to do and what the final dates are. It will also prevent any miscommunication during offboarding.

#5. Schedule an exit interview

When employees leave the company, whether they are leaving on their own accord or because the company has decided to part ways with them, they can provide invaluable insights that a current employee might be hesitant to offer.

  • What made them leave the company?
  • How would they rate their managers?
  • How was their work experience — did they felt their achievements were fairly rewarded?
  • How would they rate the company culture — what would they like to change at the workplace?
  • Would they recommend the company to others?
  • Would they ever consider rejoning the company in the future?
  • How was their offboarding experience?

Why is it important?

During this phase of the employee offboarding policy, you will get insights that will help you prevent repeating the same mistakes that might have made a current employee resign. You will be able to understand if the work culture requires reforming to retain existing talent and onboard new ones.

#6. Revoke account access

It's an important step in securing the company's data during offboarding!

When an employee leaves the company, the IT department should suspend their accounts. Before suspending accounts, make sure the data associated with the account is transferred to the manager - this prevents important files from being lost.

Why is it important?

Employees no longer a part of the company should not have access to the company's data for two reasons.

  1. Although it’s rare, sometimes employees can resort to extreme measures when mistreated — if they leak sensitive information, it can cost the company and raise legal troubles for the company.
  2. It is usually the case that ex-employees are unaware they can cause the company damage. If they become victims of a phishing attack and still have access to the organization's data, sensitive information can be compromised.

#7. Give a respectful goodbye

Acknowledge their contributions to the team, thank them for their hard work, and express your appreciation for the time you worked together. Offer well wishes for their future endeavors, and let them know if there is anything you can do to help.

In addition, you could organize a small team lunch in which you could recognize their achievements and give them a proper send off. If organizing a lunch doesn’t seem possible, you should send them a sincere goodbye email — wishing them well.

Following all offboarding steps pays off

#1. Your ex-employees Might Rejoin You

Who hasn't seen or heard about Daenerys Targaryen's journey from Game of Thrones?

She transformed from the girl who was sold into a forced marriage into the most fierce woman who built an army of loyal employees!

In fact, Ser Jorah Mormont, who left Daenerys, rejoined her army to fight by her side!

Why do you think she managed to rise from the girl who had nothing to the mother of dragons and the leader of the Unsullied?

Well, here's what we think – not only did she treat the employees who stayed with her with the utmost respect, but she also held the ones departing from under her wings in the highest regard!

And that's why Ser Jorah and many others became her Boomerang employees – they joined her back!

#2 You build your brand – Your ex-employees are your ambassadors

No actor or cricketer can endorse your company's values as your ex-employees can.

Can you imagine the impact that positive word of mouth from someone who used to work for you can make?

Employees want to be treated with respect, and when ex-employees have nothing but good things to say about your organization, your company will attract the talent organically.

#3 You Gain the Confidence of Existing employees

Your current employees will judge you for the way you treat someone leaving your company. Having an employee offboarding policy that treats a departing employee with empathy and respect indicates that you will respect your current employees if they decide to leave the company one day. As a result, you will be able to retain talent because it creates a sense of contentment and trust that they are in the right hands.


The offboarding process holds significant weight in shaping your company’s ethos and future. It's not just about parting ways, but about cementing the legacy of respect and professionalism that will resonate with both past and present employees. A well-crafted offboarding strategy ensures that departing employees feel valued right up to their last day, reducing the risk of negative fallout and promoting a culture of respect that is attractive to potential talent

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