Why Is Offboarding Employees So Important?
Oct 27, 2021 03:55 PM EDT
Offboarding is something as critical to your business as onboarding, yet it's frequently overlooked. There are security issues, for example, when you don't properly offboard.
According to research, 48% of surveyed organizations said they knew former employees still had access to corporate networks. Twenty percent of organizations say they've had a data breach linked to former employees.
Along with security risks, not offboarding employees can damage your employer brand and make it difficult for you to create a recruitment and retention strategy that works.
The following are important things to know about offboarding employees and why it's so important.
What Is Offboarding?
Offboarding is the process leading to formal separation between an employee and an employer. Offboarding can take place if an employee is terminated, resigns, or retires. It's a broad term referring to all processes and decisions taking place when an employee leaves.
Offboarding can include the transferring of job responsibilities, deactivating access rights and passwords, equipment turn-in, conducting exit interviews, and gathering feedback.
The idea of offboarding is to tie up any potential loose ends when an employee leaves a company and also to gather the information that can help you improve as an employer going forward.
You can view onboarding and offboarding as bookends to your employees' time at your company. They're different parts of the journey, but they both need to have a strategy underlying them.
Offboarding and Cybersecurity
One of the biggest reasons that offboarding is so important is because, without a formalized process, you're putting your business at risk of cybersecurity threats.
Some of the things to keep in mind as far as offboarding and cybersecurity include:
- You'll need to make sure you delete any cloud accounts accessible by the former employee.
- You should make sure employees, as part of offboarding, delete any company apps on their personal devices.
- To help your offboarding, it's best if you're constantly updating your IT inventories. When you have inventories of who has what access, it simplifies your offboarding significantly. You don't want to overlook anything.
- Make sure that your IT team is aware of any upcoming employee separations of any type. When they're kept in the loop, the IT team can be looking for any suspicious behavior leading up to someone's departure.
- Keep in mind that if someone is being terminated or they're leaving in a way that could lend to disgruntled feelings, there's a higher risk of situations like data theft. Track application use, review internet history, go over logins, and monitor emails. You also need to have in place a way to track file transfers.
Good offboarding strategies aren't just about cybersecurity, although that's a big concern. You also need to make sure you're learning from the situation every time an employee leaves.
You want your employees to leave on a positive note for a number of reasons, including the fact that word-of-mouth is a core component of your employer brand. There's also the potential that an employee will eventually come back if they leave on a good note.
When you're offboarding employees, you should conduct exit interviews as a way to get insight. You can learn more about the employee experience and gain constructive feedback that you can then use to refine your corporate culture in the future. Exit interviews are an excellent way to determine whether there might be systemic issues you should address.
Your goal should be to understand why someone is leaving when you conduct an exit interview.
You want to try and frame a constructive conversation in an environment your employee feels is safe.
Other Reasons Offboarding Matters
Some of the other vital reasons offboarding is an integral part of your larger business strategy include the fact that people and the relationships you form with them matter. You want your employees, past and present, to view you favorably and perhaps even recommend you to other potential employees or customers. You generally want to cultivate a good reputation.
When you have a streamlined, formalized offboarding process in place, it will improve the productivity of your other employees including IT and HR teams and make them more productive.
Finally, when you have a comprehensive plan for offboarding employees, it will make sure you're compliant in all areas, and you're mitigating risks overall.
Your offboarding strategy should be part of your overall talent management and cybersecurity strategies, and if you don't already have a formalized process in place, you should start working toward one now.