Nearly all employers prepare in someway for an employee’s first day, but let’s be honest, how many prepare for an employee’s last day? There are some organisations, usually the larger international firms, that will have some sort of robust process to facilitate offboarding, but the truth is most have gaps and everyone knows at least one person who has a leaving horror story. They were not paid all of the outstanding salary owed to them, confusion over the final end date, having a former employer constantly call them as they didn’t have a handover process etc. Even if an employee has resigned, they are still an employee until they leave, but this is an often forgotten about aspect of employee experience. The way an employee leaves an organisation will be how they feel about the organisation. For a positive employee experience, offboarding an employee is just as important as onboarding an employee.
Wish them well
Let’s start with getting the basics right, if an employee is leaving your organisation, the first thing to do is wish them well. No one likes to lose a high performer, but if they are leaving, it is highly likely it is because they have received something better that your firm cannot or have not offered them, so congratulate them. Put ego and selfishness to one side, sure it may hurt your organisation, but there is no reason to take it out on the employee who has received a better offer. Professionalism is a two-way street; you cannot expect it from employees and not give it to them in return.
Likewise, if their leaving is not voluntary, there is no reason to kick them while they are down. Any transition is always difficult, there is no need to add hostility or additional stress to the situation. On their last day or during their last week, there should also be some sort of recognition and a leaving lunch or drinks so colleagues can formally say goodbye and wish them luck. After all, how do you think an employee will feel after spending several years with the company and no one says goodbye or acknowledge they have left?
Ensure there has been a handover
Most organisations act like someone resigning or leaving involuntarily is more top secret than a government spy agency. This is one of the reasons so much knowledge is lost during employee handovers. Organisations ask employees not to tell others that they are leaving and so any handover ends up being very superficial and last minute. Naturally, this means that there are going to be gaps in any handover. By being open about the person leaving and creating a hand over that lasts several weeks or even months, it ensures that the transition from the employee leaving to their team is seamless. It also makes for a better leaving experience as the person leaving doesn’t have to feel like they are forced to keep this big secret every time they interact with colleagues, and they are not bothered once they leave due to the team not being aware of something.
Clarify outstanding entitlements
One of the leading causes for a negative leaving experience is an employee feeling like they are being treated unfairly when it comes to outstanding pay and benefits. Most employees make the mistake of forgetting pay and benefits are pro-rata, so if someone has 24 days annual leave, and they leave at the end of June, they only actually get 12 days annual leave. So, if they took 13 days of holiday at the start of the year, they are actually going to be docked one day’s pay when they receive their final pay cheque. It is incredibly important to ensure that everything is transparent and clearly communicated to the employee that is leaving in advance of their final day so that they have time to query any items of contention.