What will you learn?
How to build an efficient and flexible offboarding procedure aka employment termination process and how to avoid glitches in this always difficult situation, once you implement it?
The first thing you need to realize is that the employment termination process should be identical for every employee regardless of their position and length of service.
I emphasize that this applies to the procedure itself because everything that you create around (transfer of information, circulation and storage of documents) is your responsibility.
In this text, I am focusing solely on building a good procedure.
The problem is that very often this procedure does not exist or is neglected. I know that having a procedure for firing people feels strange, less human but I saw what not having this procedure costs.
I would like to suggest you to build a list of tasks (importantly, chronological), WRITE it down and include it in HR procedures. Even if such a department does not exist in your company, you must have a place where you collect the procedures.
Free access to the procedure should be granted not only to the HR department but also to each department manager because he/she will be responsible for the operational implementation.
Such a procedure will help to smoothly go through this process and avoid a faux-pas, which can leave a bad taste even in a pleasant atmosphere. So even if you write it down in Word file, you have to make sure that:
-the document was always 100% up to date,
-all those in it had access to it,
-be sure everyone knows about it and understands how to use this employment termination process.
This last point is important because sometimes it is not always implemented. I used to go through an unpleasant situation, where I was put on a vertical line for not following the invoice circulation procedure. The problem is that no one told me that such a procedure exists.
So let’s start with the operational part. I wrote it down in a few points. I encourage you to consider at this stage how you would have to adapt my advice to make it work for your company.
Mail with the form
Prepare an email form and addressees (remember that recipients are updated in the event of changes in access or promotions/demotion / dismissals). If the list in the routine is not up-to-date, then by design all the rest is meaningless.
Updating employment termination process must be an addiction. Place it on a shared drive.
Who is responsible for informing? In my opinion, the immediate supervisor, because he is the closest to the employee.
When do we send the message? The sooner the better. Postponement in time causes a deaf phone call, a communication interruption and the risk of uncomfortable rumours. If the person we are parting with does not know about it yet (because, unfortunately, it also happens sometimes), then we must mark it in the appropriate section. We keep messages confidential.
-HR head (or the person responsible for HR matters). Here I will add that you need to indicate someone who is responsible for the documents – if it is an accounting office, please indicate the person responsible for contact with the office.
-Managers of other departments – think if you want to avoid rumours between them and inform everyone about it right away.
Con: stigmatism, so only use essentials here.
-The management board / top management of the company – such an e-mail is the easiest method to keep the top management up to date with the staffing situation in the company.
Title: [End of cooperation] – Department – Name and surname
An organized title will help you keep an eye on threads, archive messages and, above all, make them stand out from other emails.
Department: here you enter the name of the department
Name and surname: you ask, why are we duplicating it? The title is informative, but the e-mail addresses these important issues.
Work experience: enter how much time the person spent onboard (you do not need to specify the day and time, but so that everyone who is interested knows whether the employee was with you for 14 days or 5 years)
Reason for ending cooperation: a super important matter that you need to summarize into one sentence. Remember, however, that there is no room for pouring out regrets here. There should be one sentence that explains why we are ending cooperation.
Advantage: easy distribution of personnel information, eg “it was bought by the competition”.
Notice of termination/date of departure: enter here the period of notice or the date of the last working day that you can make an appointment for. We know that in such a situation, both parties are often flexible, but you have to set a specific date so that if one of the parties changes their mind, they will not be left with busy projects.
At this point, we avoid understatements.
E-mail address: enter here all the addresses used by the employee, he can access not only his e-mail, but also other mailboxes.
Mail forwarding: if you want to redirect incoming mail to another address, enter it here.
Access: a difficult matter, despite appearances, from a logistical point of view.
Certainly, the immediate superior knows best what tools the employee uses, so he will list them here. However, it must be clear whether we delete these accounts or just change the access password and if so, to whom it should be transferred.
Example: employment termination process for an employee of the sales department means that already opened threads with customers (tickets, conversations) must be transferred to another person in order to be closed. You cannot delete an account just like that. If, as a manager, you decide that another employee of the department is to have access, you must personally.
We pass further to responsibility, that is: who specifically is to do it and is responsible for it.
Effect: you will notify everyone who should know or continue to be involved in an efficient process with one e-mail.
What’s missing here? What is your task when organizing procedures in the company?
Operational person. The person you entrust with looking after administrative matters, such as:
-Returning the equipment, checking its condition.
-Passing the access card, keys. Do not allow the situation “gosh, I forgot to take it back” or “well that’s hard to me, I like this person”. No, we settle accounts for all entrusted property and it must be acknowledged. It is a great comfort for both parties.
-getting access to all the passwords, public profiles access and everything in what the employee was involved.
Here, also enter the list to be checked and adapt it to the department or conditions in your company.
This is not a universal method. Treat it like an editable template. Each company is different, be it in terms of structure, access to information or operational activities.
Part of HR and PR
Some kind of exit interview. It’s nice if a person from the HR department conducts it. You can also make a template for a few questions that should be asked. In its absence, think carefully about who should take care of it. I advise against the immediate supervisor – he and the employee know each other very well and it will not bring anything new.
Such a meeting is not aimed at pouring out the last regrets, but collecting beneficial information about the company and it is often the case that tips on what can be changed from the employee’s point of view fall on such exit interviews. I do not know why it results that when something does not work or can be improved, it sticks to itself and shows a lack of initiative, despite often good ideas, and when it comes to parting, it scores points and helps to improve the organization. Did you experience that?
Below is a handful of loose tips for all the bosses. Note, they only apply to offboarding as a procedure.
Logistics on the last day of work
Stay professional. Regardless of the atmosphere of the breakup, it is your responsibility to find a cool element of cooperation and emphasize it, whether in a face to face conversation or with the whole team.
It is YOUR responsibility and no one else’s responsibility to ensure that projects and arrangements are closed or properly communicated. You have to keep an eye on it and check it before you leave because it’s your duty. We are all human.
Determine the day before whether the employee is in the office by the end of the day, noon, etc. If you are preparing a surprise, it will facilitate logistics. Nothing breaks the day more than playing cat and mouse.
If you are dismissed after a breakup, reassemble your team on the same day and explain your reasons in a few sentences. You put your coffee on the bench and although rumours will be born afterwards, no one has the right to accuse you of being honest with the rest of the team. This is also a very good moment for the boss’s expose, but short and to the point (recall the 3-4 values that you follow and which were violated in this case). Focus on specifics and summarize to 5 minutes.
My small advice for the end: don’t burn bridges with good employees. You never know if and when you will need/meet them again.
btw this post is based on my experience as an employee not as infuture.fashion owner 😉
Ok… I wrote how to hire, train, fire people – what’s left? Any topic ideas? What challenges do you face?