What is offboarding?


Offboarding is the process an employee is taken through when they leave a company.

Offboarding is the process an employee is taken through when they leave a company. It may include, but is not limited to, the phased transfer of knowledge to an existing or new employee, an exit interview, the return of company property and other processes relating to the human resources, IT and legal functions of the organisation.  

This final stage of an employee’s journey with a company is among the most important and without an effective transition out of the team, employers risk losing crucial information or even other staff. According to a Work Institute report, 78% of the reasons that cause employees to quit could be prevented, and a formal offboarding process can help to identify these issues.  

History of offboarding

The concept of offboarding has its roots in the early 20th century when employers began to formalise the process of ending an individual’s employment. This was due in part to new labour laws that sought to protect workers from unfair treatment. It became an effective way to ensure continuity and to gain valuable insights into the workforce. 

Recent trends in offboarding 

In recent years, offboarding has become an increasingly important factor when looking at an employer’s brand. Ensuring that employees leave with a good impression of the firm is crucial as dissatisfaction can impact the company’s reputation, especially when it comes to referrals and review website. Technology has played a role in the emergence of offboarding practices, with companies increasingly using automated systems to manage the process.  

The importance of offboarding increased significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic when what became known as the Great Resignation saw millions of people leave their jobs. Offboarding processes became an important tool for helping companies manage and understand employee turnover, keep key talent and retain important knowledge. 

Advantages of offboarding 

Offboarding provides several advantages for employers and employees alike. For employers, it offers an opportunity to ensure that an employee’s knowledge is transferred to others in the company before they leave. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to gain insights into employee satisfaction through exit interviews and to maintain a positive relationship between the company and its former employees.  

For employees, offboarding provides peace of mind, knowing that their departure has been handled properly so that disruption to their colleagues is limited. It can also allow them to give their views on working for at the business. 

Disadvantages of offboarding 

The primary disadvantage of offboarding is that it can be time consuming and costly for employers. Additionally, if not conducted properly, it can lead to negative perceptions among former employees and current staff.  

Overall, offboarding is an important part of the HR process which provides both employers and employees with peace of mind, encouraging fair treatment of employees and a positive perception of companies.