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HR team conducting employee offboarding and exit interviews

Employee Offboarding: Achieving a Smooth Exit

Offboarding, which is sometimes overlooked, is the process a company uses to handle when an employee leaves. This process is important because it helps protect the company's interests while showing respect and understanding for departing employees. When the offboarding procedures are done in a way that is respectful, efficient, and consistent, they can help keep the company's reputation intact, create a positive work environment, and avoid legal and regulatory issues.

CoAdvantage 3 Key Elements of Your Offboarding Process

  1. Task transition
  2. Recovery of Company Assets
  3. Conduct exit interviews (if possible) 

It's crucial to address the retrieval of company property during the offboarding process. Ensure that all company equipment is returned, such as ID badges and credit cards.

Above all, treat departing employees with dignity and respect to uphold a positive brand image, even after employees leave and no matter the reason why they are leaving. From here, how you handle the employee offboarding process will depend on the nature of the exit.

Voluntary Turnover

61% of workers “have one foot out the door,” says the Achievers Workforce Institute 2023 Engagement and Retention Report. In other words, nearly two-thirds of employees are either (1) actively looking for a new job or (2) aren’t committed to their current job even if they’re not actively job-seeking. That’s a lot of potential employee turnover! 

In fact, in 2022 alone, a surprising 4 to 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs each month. When an employee leaves voluntarily, it can be bittersweet. Begin by recognizing their contributions and respecting their decisions. Avoid expressions of resentment or anger, even when their departure puts your business in a difficult position. 

While it's acceptable to make counteroffers to encourage them to stay, it's important to avoid any forms of coercion or threats. Instead, focus on finding solutions to address any issues stemming from their departure. 

Exit interviews, including well-thought-out exit interview questions, are incredibly valuable, particularly when employees leave on their own. These interviews offer a chance to collect honest feedback about workplace conditions, how the company is managed, and the overall corporate culture. These insights can play a vital role in decreasing future turnover and enhancing the workplace environment.


Layoffs are a fact of life for both employers and employees. Sometimes organizations simply become overstaffed, especially as economic conditions fluctuate and the company’s business fortunes shift as a result. 2022, for example, saw over 15 million layoffs.

Layoffs can be emotionally challenging for all parties involved, so it’s key to approach these situations with care and empathy. Create a clear, fair, and well-documented process that communicates the reasons behind the decision as well as any severance package details or outplacement support. Good communication during a layoff can stave off many potential problems and grievances.

Employee assistance programs, such as career counseling and job placement services, can soften the impact of layoffs. These steps demonstrate that the company truly values its employees' well-being. When a company values its employees it can boost the morale of remaining staff and protect the company's reputation.

Involuntary Terminations

These exits can be the most difficult to manage well, especially for the employer. Act professionally at all times, no matter how the employee responds. Clearly explain the reasons for the decision and respect the dignity of the exiting employee throughout the process (even if they don’t behave in a dignified manner). Some other best practices include the following:

  • Before the termination, thoroughly document the issues leading to the decision.
  • In some cases, you may wish to solicit and include in that documentation an unbiased review from legal advisors or other third parties to ensure fairness.
  • A pre-determined process should be followed, typically involving HR and the employee's direct manager.
  • A private, face-to-face meeting is generally the most respectful way to communicate the decision.
  • After termination, assist the employee in understanding their benefits and any additional support available.

Offboarding should be a careful, deliberate process.

Each type of departure requires a unique approach, but a common thread throughout all of them is respect for the employee. By treating departing team members with fairness and dignity, a company not only safeguards its reputation but also maintains a positive relationship with its alumni, who can continue to serve as brand ambassadors long after their departure.

Offboarding plays a pivotal role in the employee lifecycle by ensuring a smooth transition when an employee departs from the company. This process extends beyond its transitional function, offering insights into the company while effectively reducing security risks associated with offboarding. Moreover, it guarantees that exiting employees promptly receive their final paychecks. This ensures that all company equipment and property are accounted for.

As an integral part of the offboarding process, conducting an exit interview can further enhance this procedure. Exit interviews provide a unique chance to collect valuable insights that can help improve company practices, fostering a culture of ongoing improvement and refinement.

CoAdvantage, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), supports small to mid-sized businesses with tailored HR services. Our services include HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.