5 Best Practices for Offboarding Employees

When we hire someone, we think it will be for all eternity. But the reality is that it’s not. Every cycle comes to an end. And most of the time, it’s a good thing. People moving on into different jobs helps them progress in ways that it’s not possible anymore. Also, it opens space for other people to arise in your company. So we need to handle this as a natural situation that will often happen and create the best process to get the most out of it.

Here are five tips to help you get the best out of it:

1. Do an exit interview.

You might question yourself why you should do it since they are leaving. But although you “lost” this battle, knowing what you could have done better is always good. And possibly avoid other people from going as well.

Usually, people are keen to share their experiences, but you need to be prepared to get that feedback from them. “All was good” and “Had a great time” are not good answers for you. You need to get possible action points from these kinds of conversations. Try to ask about specific situations. Situations that the company could have done better. Understand if the problem was avoidable or not.

Another thing to think about is who does the exit interview. You should be tactical and understand what you will get from different interviewers. Is it someone close to the person, e.g., their manager? It has some benefits, but if, for example, one of the problems was their relationship, you might not get the most. If it is someone they have never seen or talked to, how comfortable will it be for them to explain a situation they know the other person doesn’t comprehend?

2. End on a good note

Take the time to say goodbye to the person. Possible face-to-face to make it more personal.

Hopefully, everything went great, and the person leaving is just the end of a cycle. So make sure that they leave knowing what you think.

In a positive situation, let them know how you appreciate them and their work and how they impact the company, possibly share specific situations.

If you have negative feedback, also do share it with them. Even if it’s negative, give them a positive twist on how they can improve and the difficulties you feel they faced.

3. Prepare Knowledge transfer

The reality is that you shouldn’t wait for someone to leave to have the knowledge transfer. You should be proactive and have knowledge transfer all the time. Remember the bus factor.

There are always some loose ends, and you must be prepared to handle them. The best option is to have the knowledge written somewhere and then share it with others. So count on the time that the person that is leaving is going to spend documenting. Also, make sure that you validate the knowledge transfer. It’s hard for the person to remember everything they have done in the past.

4. Leave an open door

Leave an open door for the person that is leaving. It’s not unusual to have someone leave the company and then come back.

Sometimes they leave for better financial conditions that you couldn’t match at that moment, but things change.

Sometimes they leave because they want to try something new, not because they don’t like the company anymore.

So make an effort and be explicit about that feeling. Make sure they know that they are welcome back.

5. Remove all access to your systems

Last, you need to remove all access to your systems. People who spend years in the companies usually have access to several systems across the company, and you need to ensure that they stop having access to them the moment they leave.

It’s not a matter of trusting them but a matter of security. And it is a considerable security risk. The moment they leave, you lose access to them, and in no way can you have someone from the outside continue to be able to see the information that could be lying around.

And that’s why it’s essential to have a clear policy on who has access to your systems.


When someone decides to leave or is asked to leave is never a great moment. Nevertheless, it’s always good to approach it with an open mind and a learning spirit, following the best offboarding practices.

What practices do you use when offboarding?

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