Is Offboarding as important as Onboarding now?

Ideal Offboarding | Exit Interviews

Mass layoffs have triggered conversations around offboarding, Exit interviews, and how organizations say their goodbyes.

In Today’s edition, we talk about Offboarding :

  1. Ideal offboarding process
  2. Exit Interviews

Employee offboarding is critical for any organization, but it is not always done correctly. In fact, the process of offboarding an employee is frequently haphazard or ignored entirely. I tried to google offboarding processes to write this, and to my shock, there was very little information about it. Offboarding is often not a part of bschool syllabus. Alison Dachner, a management professor at John Caroll University says “There are conversations around turnover, retention, exit interviews, but not about offboarding as a process.”

It's possible that it hasn't been assigned to anyone or any department at all. In worst-case scenarios, there is a lack of urgency when it comes to offboarding, which leads to security risks such as insider threats.

S who works at a Web3 organization now told us “My manager from a Series C Fintech company refused to sign the resignation letter, he refused to let me go. I signed the offer letter at the other organization, and I wasn’t relieved of my duties here. He didn't respond for a week, then had to get it cleared with the involvement of seniors and HR. So for a week, I was working at two companies. It was literally a toxic breakup I had to go through”

It's time to improve and make it more streamlined, efficient, and secure.

Kartik Mandaville, founder of Springworks says “Offboarding leaves an open door for employees to come back as consultants, mentors, and also rehires. It is important to say your goodbyes right.”

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email or DM @janwhyy on Twitter. For completely confidential conversations, ask Janhavi for her number.

What does an ideal offboarding process look like?

Offboarding in most workplaces today isn't good enough, it's not secure, efficient, or people-focused enough. If we look at it, it is also part of a larger picture - the employee lifecycle, which is worth considering for your organization's overall health.

The offboarding process usually starts with “The chat” with the manager that you are putting in your papers. It is then sent over email to your HR and relevant folks.

1) Notice period- “Employees have reported that companies stop treating them as employees and start treating them as outsiders during the notice period, their perks and benefits are taken away, access gets revoked without communication and there is very minimal communication.” says Rohan Mankad, HR Executive at Springworks.

Let’s look into how long the notice periods should be:- No notice is required if you have only been employed for a month or less- One week's notice if you have worked with the company for up to two years- One week for each year of employment if you have been at your job for between two and 12 years - 12 weeks’ notice for more than 12 years working at a company

2) Transfers- A from New Delhi mentioned that she was offboarded without a heads-up, even after a conversation about taking a few days to transfer data and deliverables. She woke up the next day, and her slack access was gone. It was not only disrespectful, but her colleagues texted to ask what happened. There was no company-wide communication too.

“It is extremely important to act humane, check-in before deactivating IDs, and give people time to transition,” says Rohan Mankad, HR Executive at Springworks.

3) Clear expectation setting - Clear and constant communication around end date, technological, HR, and legal transfers has to be done. Make a master list of all offboarding steps required for all employees, then break them down by department and role. Consider who has access to what and when it is appropriate to restrict that access. You don't want to hamper an employee's ability to complete work in their final two weeks, but you also don't want a disgruntled employee to be able to steal data or customers from you.

4) Communication of departure to the wider organization and Farewells - We spend one-third of our time with this group of people. It is important for the people we work with to say their goodbyes. Recognizing how important people are in the organization will help us foster a positive workplace culture in the long run. Conduct company-wide or team farewells for an empathetic ending.

5) Crisis communications where appropriate (especially in the event of a high-level departure or mass lay-off)  - Berkeley HR provides a perfect checklist for communicating during a crisis.

To provide information

  • To clarify the reasons for a change
  • To describe the benefits of the change
  • To draw a picture of the new organization
  • To describe how the change will take place
  • To provide information on support and resources

To gather information

  • To get input from diverse groups affected by the change
  • To learn what issues and concerns are raised by the change
  • To get feedback on how the change is operating

To affect attitudes and behavior

  • To show that change is a beginning
  • To create an atmosphere that supports the new organization or culture
  • To build trust by demonstrating honesty and inclusiveness
  • To create a positive, collaborative work environment

To offer support

  • To acknowledge resistance, anger, or sense of loss
  • To discuss responses to the change
  • To show how the loss will be balanced by the advantages of the change
  • To provide tools (such as training and information) for managing transitions
  • To reduce isolation and foster teamwork

6) Exit Interviews - Let’s talk about this later in the newsletter.

7) Ongoing Alumni groups and constant communication - It is important to give the employees a Relieving and Experience letter. Be in constant touch and help them make the transition smoother and easier.

“At GoKwik, I've also implemented something as "GoKwik Alumni" - This a separate Group wherein all Employees who are exiting are added (With their permission) & It is an effort to keep in touch with them - Companies should try something of similar nature - this way you even celebrate exits,” says Omkar Pradhan, Associate Director - People and Culture at GoKwik

While onboarding frequently includes steps that should be completed over time (e.g., preparations before the employee arrives and check-ins/evaluations throughout the first year), offboarding should generally be completed quickly to ensure that no doors are left ajar could introduce risk to your organization.

Exit interviews

An employee is leaving you - What will they do next? Who will they grow into? What kind of power and influence will they have? And, after all that time, will they remember how you onboarded them? I have my doubts. But I can assure you that even after n years, they will remember how you let them go.

I put up these polls on my social media and It is really alarming that even HR professionals are unaware of what Exit interviews are.

And upon talking to people, Many organizations never conduct exit interviews. Some organizations collect exit interview data but do not analyze it. Some analyze it but do not share it with senior executives and managers who can act on it. Only a few gather, analyze, and share data, and then take action.

Exit interviews are a great way to get honest feedback because the employee has no reason to lie at this point.

  • Understand the reason for exit - Bad manager, culture, compensation, growth opportunities? What led them to leave? It throws light on the competitive landscape, problems in the organization, and what can be done now. If an employee is leaving out of frustration, that exit interview might be a little too late to have that discussion, you can just make it better for the next person.
  • Have a discussion around Rehiring or future prospects, Is the person open to coming back and working in the future? As a consultant, freelancer, or angel investor.
  • Should HR conduct it or the Manager? - In most organizations, EIs are entirely an HR function. Indeed, HR frequently conducts interviews and consolidates data, only sharing it with management when specifically requested. Tejas Kinger who works at Plum mentioned “A lot of times managers are the reason of exit, hence HR becomes a neutral party to take the interview.”However, this approach marginalizes the process and implies that it is merely an operational obligation rather than a strategic opportunity. Human resources may manage the program on a daily basis, but it is critical that the appropriate line leaders participate in the interviews and that the executive committee oversees the program's design, execution, and results. We suggest you pick this topic up with your top management annually and decide.

What we're pondering upon