Offboarding Employees: A Checklist to Make Your Life Easier
Offboarding Employees: A Checklist to Make Your Life Easier

Offboarding Employees: A Checklist to Make Your Life Easier

Offboarding is just as important as onboarding

People leave companies for a variety of reasons, some voluntarily, and some not. A smooth and painless employee offboarding process when an employee leaves is just as important to your company as a solid employee onboarding. While the term might not be heard as frequently, your offboarding process needs to be defined and consistently applied across every employee when they leave the company. Keep reading to see how you can implement this process if you don’t already have one or improve your existing offboarding program.

Why do we need an offboarding process?

A well-documented employee offboarding process can help to ensure compliance with various employment laws and can prevent errors (like not collecting a company-issued laptop from an employee). When your rock star employees depart on good terms, having a positive offboarding experience can help turn them into so-called “boomerang employees” who come back to the company in the future. Additionally, a good offboarding program can help with attracting top talent when your superstars recommend the company to their networks because they had an overall high-quality work experience from start to finish.


Offboarding checklist for HR and managers

Communicate and notify. Where appropriate, communicate the employee’s departure in an email to anyone affected as soon as possible (e.g., fellow team members, stakeholders, clients or customers, etc.).
Get the employee’s letter of resignation. Be sure to save a copy in their personnel file.
Provide written acceptance of resignation letter. Save this in their file as well.
Conduct a knowledge transfer. Document all details of the employee’s processes and procedures and gather all necessary files to ensure a smooth transition.
Schedule a meeting with the HR team for out-processing.
Enter the employee termination information into your HR database.
Notify payroll to process any outstanding employee expense reimbursements.
Confirm that the employee doesn’t owe reimbursement for signing or retention bonuses.
Determine if the employee has any accrued leave they haven’t taken. Review non-compete and non-disclosure agreements (see below for more details).
Give the employee any relevant benefits documents (COBRA, 401(k) paperwork, etc.).
Collect I.D. badge, keys, computer equipment, company-provided phone, VPN tokens, company credit card, uniforms.
Remove the employee from any recurring meetings.
Remove the employee from the active employee database.
Update your org chart.
If the employee has a presence on the customer-facing company website, have your web team remove them.
Revoke access to your email system, intranet, or any shared drives and files.
Provide the employee with their own offboarding checklist.

Offboarding Checklist for Employees

Settle any petty cash advances or other expense accounts
Ensure all important files and records are labeled and organized for your successor
Remove personal items from office, employee lockers, etc.
Return keys, keycards, company credit cards, parking permits, etc.
Turn in any company-issued mobile devices and computer hardware
Provide your forwarding address so any mail can be forwarded

Review non-compete and non-disclosure agreements

These forms are often used so that confidential company information—such as proprietary software and processes or customer lists—is retained within the company and not shared with your competition. If your employee signed a non-compete, non-disclosure, non-poaching or confidentiality agreement when they were hired, review the terms and conditions of the agreements with them before they leave. Be sure to address any penalties that will apply if an agreement is breached.

Conduct an employee exit interview

Exit interviews are a very important part of the offboarding process. They provide important insight into your business culture, processes, ethics and employee morale. By giving departing employees the opportunity to discuss their observations and reasons for leaving, HR can monitor these responses and determine trends and patterns over time. For example, if you have an employee retention problem in certain departments, maybe it’s time to take a look at the manager.

Here are a few questions to ask employees in their exit interviews:

  • How did the job compare to your expectations when you started working here?
  • Did you have all of the tools and resources to effectively do your job?
  • Would you recommend our company to people in your network? Why or why not?
  • Is there anything we could have done to persuade you to stay?
  • How did you get along with your manager?
  • What’s the biggest area we can focus on to improve?

If the working relationship wasn’t the best, an employee’s manager can often be a source of conflict. It’s usually best to have someone not close to the situation, such as an HR manager, talk to a Paycor representative.


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