top of page

The 5 Most Important Things to do When Offboarding an Employee

By George Waggott, founder, and Roberto Fonseca-Velazquez, summer law student,

George Waggott Law

The time has come. Someone from your organization is leaving. Perhaps it is a long-term employee, a contract employee at the end of their term, or an employee that was on the team for a year or two. Regardless of the length someone has been with the organization and the part of the business they supported, strategic offboarding of workers can ensure your organization retains expertise, continuously improves the business and retains positive branding. Here are the five important things to do when offboarding an employee.

1. Create a Formal Process

Even the smallest of organizations should have an offboarding process in place. Whether it be in a manual or a simple checklist, this will ensure a formal transition for employees out of the organization. It prevents scrambling regardless of how much notice you have been given. This process should ensure both the organization and the employee know what needs to be done during their final days. Creating a formal process will lead to a higher level of knowledge retention because the knowledge held by the departing employee will not simply fall through the cracks. Lastly, delivering a consistent, employee-focused offboarding experience will leave them with a final positive impression of your organization.

2. Job Shadow

Some organizations require offboarding employees to write out a long report detailing to a new employee how to do their job. However, this is often too hefty, too sparse, or not read by anyone in the organization. In other words, this can be a waste of time. A better way forward is to have someone shadow this employee. If you have time to hire a replacement or move someone from another department, attempt to give the replacement enough time to observe the departing employee. However, this option is not always available. Having the manager or supervisor of the team shadow may be a good alternative. This ensures that as they are supervising the replacement, and that they know exactly how the exiting employee did the tasks at hand. Further, selective recordkeeping of important information or practices and procedures is always a good idea.

3. Ensure Key Clients and Relationships are Kept Informed

Far too often, outside stakeholders are not kept in the loop about internal company happenings. This is understandable to a point. However, if the employee you are offboarding happens to have a client or customer facing role, it could be integral to preserve the relationship with your organization by letting them know of their contact’s upcoming exit. Once you decide on who will be assuming the role or tasks of the departing employee, ensure someone has the responsibility of contacting interested parties to let them know of the change. Impress on them that the level and type of service will not change and assure them that they will experience a smooth transition. 

4. Exit Interview

This might seem like an obvious step, but it is one that is often overlooked in terms of importance. There may be a large difference in information from the offboarding employee depending on who conducts the interview and what questions are asked. Typically, the best way to make the most of this interview is to have a neutral party, such as someone in Human Resources, conduct the interview. This way, the exiting employee can feel comfortable providing candid answers about their experience with the organization, their role, their manager, and their team. Make sure to ask questions that dig deeper into their experience and shed light on how the organization can improve overall from their point of view. This can also provide opportunity to understand why the employee is leaving, leading to changes that will attain greater organization-wide retention.

5. Celebrate

Just as new employees are celebrated, offboarded employees should also be celebrated where appropriate. The departure may be an opportunity to celebrate the employee’s time with the organization, their contributions to the success of the business and their relationships with co-workers. This will send the departing employee off with positive feelings about the organization. A small gift or card signed by entire team is often a keepsake that they will carry with them. Have a last team lunch, bring in cake, or go out for drinks. However you feel is appropriate to celebrate their exit, they will certainly remember the small gesture and carry this memory through their career.

For more information about George Waggott Law, please see:, or contact:

3 views0 comments


bottom of page