Strategic Offboarding: How to Ensure Warm Partings Every Time

Forget packing boxes and good luck wishes. Offboarding is about knowledge transfer and lasting connections.

In January 2022, a whopping 4.3 million people decided it was time for a job change, with nearly half of all employees searching the corners of LinkedIn for new gigs. This shows that the waves of the ‘Great Resignation’ are still rippling out. This means that offboarding—the way we say goodbye to employees leaving voluntarily—is more important than ever, and shouldn’t be a simple checkbox on a to-do list. Proper offboarding is crucial for keeping things smooth within your department and organization, keeping your top players, and making sure the knowledge doesn’t walk out the door with those who are leaving.

But here’s the kicker – while HR agrees that sending off employees the right way is beneficial (like making them feel good enough to come back or recommend you to a friend), many companies still don’t nail it. In fact, 71% of organizations have no formal employee offboarding process. (YIKES)

A solid goodbye plan means you get valuable feedback to keep improving, and it prevents security or legal issues, which no company can afford. A report from TechRepublic indicates that 20% of organizations say they have experienced data breaches by ex-employees. (More yikes!)

So, why not make your offboarding as good as your “Warm WELCOME?” After all, making sure folks leave feeling respected and valued can turn them into boomerang employees who might come back with new skills that give your team a major boost. Plus, it’s just nice to end things on a high note, right?

Why a “Warm PARTING?”

When we talk about parting rather than saying goodbye, it’s because the ties with employees don’t just cut off when they leave the job. When a valued team member moves on, view it as a warm “see you later.” By framing their departure as a “parting,” we keep the door open for exciting possibilities. It’s your way of saying, “This chapter closes, but our story continues,” and ensures everyone feels valued and connected, no matter where their path leads.

Here’s the beauty of this approach – it aligns perfectly with your “Warm WELCOME.” Consistent, positive experiences throughout an employee’s work journey, from warm welcomes to thoughtful partings, demonstrate our consistent appreciation for their contributions. This fosters a lifelong connection that could lead to future collaborations, whether it’s a “boomerang” employee returning, an external champion singing our praises, or a loyal customer. By bringing these practices together, we build a culture that respects and values individuals at every stage.

The outcome? Everyone walks away feeling valued, connected, and a part of the community they helped build. This reinforces the idea that every interaction within the company, from start to finish, strengthens a continuous, evolving relationship.

The benefits of a “Warm PARTING”

Given how many organizations still lack a structured approach to “Warm WELCOMEs,” it’s no surprise that there’s a significant opportunity for those ready to reimagine their offboarding practices into “Warm PARTINGs.” When someone says goodbye to your company, it’s a chance to show them you care, just like you did when they started. If you don’t have a way to check in with the departing employee and help your team adjust, well, let’s just say it might lead to more goodbyes down the road.

So, why not just let people gather up their box of stuff and leave? There are many reasons why:

  • Improved internal culture and morale: Seeing a colleague depart respectfully and positively can boost the morale of the remaining team, fostering a supportive work environment.
  • More strongly secured data and legal compliance: A structured offboarding ensures that access to company systems and sensitive information is securely revoked, minimizing the risk of data breaches or compliance issues.
  • Turning departing employees into lifelong advocates: Departing employees who have a positive offboarding experience are more likely to share good things about the company, enhancing its reputation and attracting future talent.
  • Boomerang employees: Employees who leave on good terms are more likely to return in the future, bringing back valuable experience and skills that benefit the company.
  • Preservation of organizational knowledge: By conducting thorough knowledge transfer sessions as part of offboarding, organizations can preserve critical information and maintain continuity without disruption.
  • Seamless transitions: Proper offboarding facilitates a smooth transition by reallocating responsibilities efficiently, ensuring that the team continues to operate effectively without the departed employee.
  • Feedback for improvement: Exit interviews can provide critical insights into workplace dynamics and operations, offering opportunities for organizational improvement and employee retention strategies.
  • Building alumni networks: Maintaining a good relationship with former employees can strengthen alumni networks, which can lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, or talent acquisitions.

With offboarding having such a strong effect on all these areas, it’s time to lift your offboarding to the same standard as your “Warm WELCOME.” And to this point, here is your companion piece to the “Warm WELCOME” – the framework for “Warm PARTING.”

“Warm PARTING” Framework

Unlike typical off-boarding processes that might tick boxes without much soul, this framework is different. It ensures every step is meaningful and directly enhances the employee’s experience as they transition out. By focusing on their well-being, we not only show our appreciation but also ensure a smooth handover for the remaining team, creating a win-win situation for everyone.

If your offboarding process looks like this:

Image: Beyond Identity

Then you need this (click image to download):

The “Warm PARTING” framework makes offboarding as straightforward and positive as your “Warm WELCOME” process. This method keeps everyone on the same page and ensures that parting ways is as stress-free as possible. It’s not just about letting people walk out the door. It’s about maintaining strong bonds and leaving that door open for possible future returns or collaborations.

Here’s the breakdown.

So, let’s wrap this up!

Our “Warm PARTING” framework isn’t just about checking off boxes; it’s about giving a proper send-off that makes the departing employee feel valued and respected. Every goodbye is a chance to show what your organization stands for and that you care right up until their last day—and even beyond. Good off-boarding keeps everyone feeling positive and helps your organization remain the employer of choice. If morale is good, and people feel respected, they are less likely to be poached by competitors.

So, why not take a quick look at how you’re currently saying farewell? Could it be warmer? More sincere? More structured? If your offboarding could use a little pep, maybe it’s time to shake things up and start using the “Warm PARTING” framework.

Thinking about taking your company’s onboarding and offboarding to the next level? Team up with Learning Rebels! We craft engaging “Warm Welcomes” and heartfelt “Warm Partings” that truly reflect your organization’s values and strengthen your workplace culture. Get in touch with us to revolutionize how your team welcomes new members and honors those who are moving on. Let’s create an environment where every beginning and ending is meaningful. Contact Learning Rebels now to start building more impactful employee experiences!

Shannon Tipton

Shannon Tipton

As Owner of Learning Rebels, Shannon Tipton is a skilled learning strategist, content developer and International speaker. Shannon has over 20 years of leadership experience developing successful learning strategies and infrastructures for training departments within organizations in North America, Europe and Korea.

Shannon works with people and organizations to develop learning solutions that brings actual business results. Recognized as bringing real-world expertise into the learning field, Shannon integrates technologies and social learning tools to strengthen workplace alignment, enhance collaboration and increase learning connectivity.

As author of “Disruptive Learning” Shannon frequently speaking at conferences across North America and Europe and ranks as one of the top 100 L&D influencers on Twitter (@stipton).

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