Offboarding: Can Your Business do it Better?

Offboarding your departing workers: do you give it much thought?

Do you provide a strategic exit pathway that benefits all parties?

Or do you simply wait for the soon-to-be-ex-employee to walk out, never to be seen again?

No matter what category of employee is leaving your business, a professional, respectful, and valuable exit plan is incredibly important for everyone involved.

According to Forbes, more than half of the workers leaving organisations today, are taking valuable information with them. This level of security risk is completely avoidable with the right processes and technology in place.

But a negative offboarding experience isn’t just about security risks or information loss. It’s also about the departing talent. Managed well, and the worker gets a positive experience as their last memory of your business. What if this worker is someone you don’t want to lose? A well-executed offboarding process will ensure your business remains ripe for boomerang talent: those proven workers you would like to see return to the business in the future.

Today, we’ve run through the risks associated with poor offboarding processes. We’ve also provided a checklist of steps to take, to ensure offboarding in your organisation is optimised for everyone involved.

employee offboarding

Offboarding: The Risks to Avoid

Loss of Sensitive Information:

No matter what the nature of the relationship between the worker and the organisation – be it a happy parting or a soured one – having the right processes in place upon receiving the worker’s resignation is critical.

At the time of resignation or termination, access to critical data for the worker is best revoked (within the realities of the worker being able to do their job throughout their notice period). Losing company files, trade secrets or sensitive commercial information is hugely minimised with the right technology and systems in place.

Sure, some vengeful or dispirited workers, may well play their data capture (or information stealing) cards, well before resignation. This isn’t as easy to manage. But at least having the right processes in place once they have resigned, will reduce the risk to your business.

Data Breach:

This is different to the loss of sensitive information in that a data breach is largely the responsibility of the employer. A data breach means your systems and technology servers don’t have requisite security protocols to prevent copying or stealing of information by rogue workers. The Ponemon Institute in the US released a study that found that more than half the employees surveyed admitted to having access to, and taking, sensitive information. And a staggering 40% intended to use this intel in their next job.

Reputation Loss:

In the case of a data breach, or loss of sensitive information, if your customers get wind of their data being compromised, your reputation will suffer. With confidence in your systems and processes at a low point, your customers will be within their rights to look to your competitors.

Ultimately, the best underlying risk prevention method is one where your workers are engaged, they’re respectful of their working environment and their team, and they want the best for the business they’re leaving. This coupled with robust IT systems and data management, and a thorough, strategic offboarding process, and your business will avoid any compromising scenarios.

Offboarding: Priority Checklist

Conduct Exit Interviews:

The exit interview offers multiple benefits to both the company and the individual. It gives everyone involved an opportunity to have an open and honest conversation about the organisation and the individual department. Insights can be gleaned into team dynamics. Gaps in the employee experience, or the highlighting of triggers for people leaving the business are hugely beneficial.

For the leaving party, the exit interview allows them to leave the business in a professional manner, having offered valuable business and cultural insights. It provides a formalised means of ‘leaving the door open’ to the business relationship. And it’s a final opportunity to leave a positive impression on the organisation.

exit interview

Revoke Company Privileges:

Have a checklist of the items to which you’ll need to revoke access. These may include:

  • Company credit card
  • Access to certain files or company IT systems
  • The ability to file share or forward emails outside of the company’s servers
  • Access to company applications or software services

Reset Passwords:

Any passwords that are shared within teams, or in the cloud, must be reset upon receiving the individual’s resignation.

Hardware Recall:

Make sure you have a list of all company hardware the individual is in possession of. These may include laptop, mobile phone, iPad, desktop computers, and portable hard drives, amongst others.

Inform the Team and Other Stakeholders:

Provide a formal announcement of the impending departure to the team, and any other stakeholders with whom the employee regularly engages. Brief the team on any temporary requirement for uptake of the departing worker’s responsibilities. Give them a positive sense that the business and the department will continue to function, business as usual. Instil a sense of confidence that this is a minor setback for the department, which will be overcome quickly and positively.

Cancel Licences:

If you’ve signed up for licences for the worker over a long period (eg 12 months, 2 years), rather than waste this investment, reassign these licences to another employee. Or suspend the licence until the vacated role is filled by a new employee. There are many documented instances where employees have left an organisation, whilst still using software licences they don’t own.

Update Payroll:

Make sure payroll is prepared for the final pay-out to the worker, and on the right date. Payroll systems must also provide a final tax statement to the worker, for the current tax year.

End The Relationship on a Positive Note:

Make sure the employee is provided with feedback on the value they contributed to the company. Provide recognition for their time in the business, and the positive impact they had. If appropriate, offer the worker professional references.


Offboarding is an easy process to overlook or pay scant attention to. The opportunity presented by positively offboarding workers is very real for the organisation. Managed with dignity, professionalism and compassion, and your remaining employees will be left with a positive sense that the business does genuinely care about all its workers: both existing and exiting.

As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutionsCXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.

If you are interested in discussing our insights on offboarding workers in your business and would like to find out more about how we can work together, please contact us.