Seven Steps to Offboard Remote Employees
It’s important to ensure offboarding is smooth and efficient, as this will benefit both sides in the long run. The idea is for employees to feel valued by the business even after they leave it and for managers to not have to worry about their process having potentially negative repercussions down the line.
With this in mind, here are seven steps to help you successfully offboard your remote employees.
The Value of a Well-structured Offboarding Process
A well-structured offboarding process is beneficial primarily because it reduces the time and cost involved.
Managing remote workers is often difficult due to issues with communication, which can slow processes down. Having your offboarding nailed in advance allows managers to complete necessary actions quickly and makes the whole process less painful for everyone involved. By reducing the time that offboarding requires, you also by extension reduce the monetary cost.
A streamlined offboarding process also makes your business appear more professional. While it’s an obvious priority to optimize the efficiency of processes involving employees who are going to continue working for you, those leaving should be treated with the same consideration. If you fall at the last hurdle, this is likely to get around within your community and may make people less willing to work for you in the future.
A positive offboarding process, however, can boost both the reputation of your business and the morale of current and future employees, benefitting your company in the long term.
Seven Steps to Offboard Remote Employees
Next, let’s take a look at seven steps to help you successfully offboard remote employees.
One of the most important aspects of successfully working with remote staff is maintaining strong communication—for example, through online chat apps. This is essential when considering the offboarding process.
Sudden notice of being made redundant will typically cause outrage among employees. One solution to prevent this is to make sure employees are involved and kept abreast of any important developments that are likely to affect them.
Obviously in business, there can be sudden and unpredictable changes that affect the speed at which offboarding needs to happen. However, in most cases, there is some advance warning, and employees are a lot more likely to be sympathetic to the issues affecting your company if they’ve been involved with the process.
Ergo, transparency and ongoing communication can make the process not only swifter and easier but less of a pain point for those being offboarded. This means they’re significantly less likely to blacken your name in the future.
2. Handle work-related access and data
An important factor in offboarding is managing/removing employee access to secure data once they’re no longer part of the company. Using named arguments in PHP reduces the chance of making mistakes with this data by putting it in plain text rather than having to deal with numeric codes.
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The confidentiality of workplace data is essential for the security of other employees and clients. However, making sure this access is removed quickly in response to an employee leaving, but not preemptively or in a way that might complicate the work they do before they head to pastures new, can be a delicate balance.
This step is one of the most fundamental in the offboarding process. While removing access to data from employees who no longer work for your company may seem like an obvious step, remember to do so with care and without being premature.
3. Arrange retrieval of company assets and devices
The remote model is still a relatively new way of working. As such, many employees require assistance from a company in the form of equipment, such as laptops or headsets, to be able to complete their work effectively.
Once an employee has finished working for your company, it’s important these assets are retrieved so you don’t leave yourself out of pocket in the long term—after all, laptops can get pretty expensive.
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This situation is another instance where communication with employees is essential. You need to decide if it’s better for the employee to return these items themselves or if they should be retrieved by the company and then set either a delivery time or a return deadline.
For this to go smoothly, there needs to be effective communication with the employee being offboarded. Ensuring equipment is retrieved quickly and easily can help ease its transfer to other staff members who require it, and allows for any needed repairs or replacements to be sorted ahead of time.
4. Document responsibilities
Another issue with offboarding employees is that gaps can be left in their former responsibilities (either while a replacement undergoes training or because these were missed during the role transfer). This is why the collaborative documentation of responsibilities is essential.
Ensuring there are no processes left unattended or given to someone unqualified to handle them ensures the company will continue to function as smoothly as it did when the offboarded employee was still in situ.
This process can be expedited through CDN caching to make sure any changes are registered across the company rapidly and completely.
When staff are working remotely, it can take longer to complete such documentation; even then, the transfer of this information to others can be slow. However, this should be both instantaneous and universal to prevent mistakes and allow for fitting replacements to take over the responsibilities the previous employee had.
5. Conduct exit interviews
Feedback—both positive and negative—is the backbone of a successful business. While harsh criticism can be difficult to hear, it’s important to take it on board so you can improve in the future.
Often, if an employee is brutally honest during their exit interview, it will reflect the general thoughts of your workforce (which existing staff don’t want to openly share). Exit interviews are essential for this reason, as when one of your workforce is leaving, they’re more likely to share their unfiltered thoughts.
Of course, employee feedback shouldn’t all be negative. By scheduling and conducting exit interviews, your company can also discover where you’re getting it right—and potentially use this feedback to build a more positive staff experience in the future.
Ultimately, whether feedback is good or bad, it can be used to grow your business’s reputation and employee satisfaction in the long run.
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6. Offer ongoing assistance
This one is common courtesy. Offering assistance to employees during offboarding increases the likelihood of a speedy and positive departure from the company. It can help oil the wheels of other processes too, like the retrieval of equipment and exit interviews.
An employee who’s left to complete these processes by themselves is likely to find the experience pretty stressful, even if their relationship with the company is positive enough that they want to do so as efficiently as possible.
Paperwork, in particular, is tedious at the best of times and can often be complex. Without assistance, this can lead to employees making mistakes or missing important aspects, such as documenting their current responsibilities.
Giving an employee help with paperwork not only speeds up offboarding and makes mistakes less likely but also creates a positive final impression of your company as an employer.
On top of this, making it clear that you’re happy to provide references for resumes/to future employers is a good way to foster a positive connection even after employment has technically ended.
7. Thank the employee for their time and contributions
No one likes it when their contributions are disregarded, and a courteous and polite attitude is just as important when offboarding staff as at any other time. Make it clear to them that you’re thankful for the time they spent and the work they did while in your employ to facilitate them leaving on good terms.
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A business simply cannot function without the hard work of its employees, and often one of the key complaints from workers leaving a company is that they didn’t feel valued enough.
The simple act of recognizing the work and effort an employee has done can help mitigate this and is more likely to lead to practices that ensure current staff feel valued in the same way as those being offboarded, reducing the chances of employee burnout.
Simple appreciation can also result in greater employee satisfaction and increased motivation—both during and after employment.
While many assume that offboarding is a simple and straightforward process, this is only the case if you put the effort into developing an effective exit strategy.
These steps are just a few of the ways you can make this process more beneficial in the long term, ensuring positive ongoing relationships with former employees, a solid reputation as an employer, and greater morale among existing members of staff.