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Every beginning has an end.

This is true of everything in life.

Well, maybe not number sequences like pi or time itself but 99% of everything has an end, including employment.

Only in exceptional cases does someone spend their entire career in the employment of a single business or organisation before retiring and sailing off into the sunset. ⛵

Organisations invest much time, effort, and emphasis on their onboarding.

Makes sense. After all, it’s important that new hires benefit from an infrastructure that promotes success from the earliest stages of employment.

Research shows that employees who have a positive offboarding experience are almost three times more likely to recommend your business organisation.

This will build your reputation, helping you to attract stellar candidates in the future. And this is just one benefit. 🏆

Imagine for a moment that you’re saying goodbye to someone who has been loyal to your business or organisation for years, even decades. The insight they provide may prove invaluable, helping you to evolve to meet future requirements. But only if you have access to an employee offboarding checklist that helps you to glean the requisite information.

Keep reading below to find answers to the most important employee offboarding questions, starting with the importance of employee offboarding, including a FREE offboarding template with all the information you’ll need to guarantee a positive employee experience long after they’ve left the business.👇

Why is the Employee Offboarding Process So Important?

Now, we’ve outlined why employee offboarding is so important, a positive experience leads to a positive opinion of the organisation, but let’s look at this in a little more detail whilst explaining more reasons why you should invest effort into providing a strong offboarding experience.

Former Employees Can as Ambassadors

We all know that first impressions matter. But last impressions also matter. For many, it’s the last impressions that they remember when they look back on an event.

Think about the end of a relationship.

A severing of ties that once bound friends and partners together.

Sure, people are likely to remember how they met.

But they’re just as likely to remember how the relationship ended. Maybe more so. 🤔

Every employee journey has several “moments that matter.” Their first day is one. A promotion is another. Maybe there’s a team-building day sprinkled in there too. But, for many, their last day can form the impression of an experience that they’ll always remember.

Employees who have fond, recent memories of their employment are likely to speak highly of their former employer.

They’ll be ambassadors. Have a positive impact on the brand, despite not being employed anymore. They’ll help to bolster brand reputation.

This impact can influence future candidates. 🙌

It Might Not Be the End

People leave employment for a wealth of reasons.

These could be relocating to a different part of the country or even the world. More money. Lack of flexibility. The commute is too long. Even a career sabbatical.

This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end. It just means people have opened a new chapter in their lives. 📖

According to some statistics online, 40% of people would consider working for their former employer. This means that one in two people who leave may end up returning. A positive offboarding experience plays a key role in this.

Rehiring former employees has its advantages.

It’s cost-effective, saving valuable recruitment costs. Former employees who are familiar with the culture, ethos, processes, and even clients will get up to speed quicker than new hires. 📈

A strong offboarding process can drastically improve your chances of rehiring stellar former employees, people you regret losing, in the future.

Former Employees Are Customers Too

Reputation is paramount. Regardless of the nature of your business or organisation.

This means that just as promoting a positive candidate recruitment process affects your reputation, so too does an employee’s tenure, including the offboarding process.

Consider a McDonald’s employee. They decide to leave. Let’s say they’ve found a better position. One that’s better suited to their education and skillset. They leave on good terms. 🍔

Are they more or less likely to pull up to a drive-through anytime soon?

Well, a positive offboarding experience surely makes them more likely to spend money with the brand in the future.

Now, of course, there are other variables to consider.

For instance, no matter how pleasant the employment experience was, an unsanitary kitchen environment won’t convince former employees to spend their hard-earned cash on a McDonald’s.

But a positive offboarding experience, one that highlights former employees’ value, and recognising their efforts, will. 🙂

Remember, the opinions of former employees matter.

They’ve witnessed many things during their time in the trenches.

Their opinion of the business after they’re no longer bound by the shackles of a monthly pay packet speaks volumes.

Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge transfer is essential to preventing disruption and maintaining productivity levels, especially if the departing employee is one of only a handful, or sole person, capable of fulfilling the demands of their role.🧑‍💼

A smooth offboarding process helps to ensure that all requisite knowledge and expertise is transferred to former colleagues in the event of their exit from the business or organisation.

Future Security

89% of former employees still have access to at least one application from their former role when they move on. That’s a significant percentage. One that should make employers stand up and take notice.

Let’s say that you’re a digital marketing agency. You’ve employed a web designer, but they’re leaving the business.

They’ve become disgruntled, an emotion that has been compounded by a poor offboarding experience, and they decide to change customer account passwords.

Now, you’re locked out of vital accounts, and facing a serious security breach and significant commercial disruption.

This event could have been avoided if you’d used the offboarding process as an opportunity to make sure that any systems and networks were safeguarded from a threat that could have disastrous commercial consequences. 🧑‍💻

Regulation and Compliance

Some sectors and geographic locations have specific offboarding regulatory and compliance requirements. These could include access to confidential information, such as a list of criminal offenders or financial data.

Conscientious offboarding allows employers to make sure that any potential regulatory and compliance issues are managed, even potentially preventing any legal issues that may arise from former employees having access to data.

Why L&D Teams Need an Employee Offboarding Checklist

There are several reasons why it’s vital for L&D leaders to complete an employee offboarding checklist.

Whilst it’s important to note that circumstances surrounding an employee’s departure vary, some elements of the checklist are more important than others, however, being mindful of each will aid successful employee offboarding.

Keep reading below to discover the reasons why L&D teams can’t afford to neglect employee offboarding checklists. 👇 👇

Communicate the Departure

Employee departures can create ripples throughout a team, department, or even the whole business or organisation. These ripples can affect the remaining employees, disrupting productivity.

If the departure is sudden, remaining team members may be forced to pick up the slack until a replacement is found. If news of the departure is leaked before an official announcement is made, the rumour mill can start to swirl.

These are just two of the reasons why it’s paramount to communicate departures as swiftly and professionally as possible.

Be honest, without revealing any sensitive information.

Only communicate detailed information once verified if you believe it to be important. Inform all relevant departments, such as finance and IT that the former employee’s privileges are revoked, and payroll removed.

Share Essential Knowledge

When an employee departs, they take with them the cumulative knowledge that they’ve acquired throughout their employment. In some cases, this can be significant. Ideally, this needs to be kept within the business.

Create a handover document, video, or checklist outlining the day-to-day duties and responsibilities the role requires, in addition to helpful tips, for the new hire and you’ll ease the transition. 🗎 🖥️

The handover document should, ideally, be detailed but simple. Easy to understand and free of workplace jargon. Below are several bullet points which illustrate a basic outline of the knowledge contained in a good handover document: 👇

  • Daily routine
  • Daily duties and responsibilities
  • Guide to how to use any software and digital platforms
  • Logins, passwords, and usernames
  • Information about key processes and systems
  • List of key contacts, i.e., clients, colleagues etc.
  • Description of any ongoing events
  • General housekeeping information

Paperwork Presentation

Like the onboarding process, offboarding involves a fair amount of paperwork. From a letter of resignation or termination to checking that non-disclosure agreements are distributed, and more.

Organisations are responsible for making sure that all paperwork is completed, signed, and accounted for. This safeguards them against any unforeseen legal circumstances that may arise once the employee has moved on. 📄

Valuable Insights

Under specific circumstances, holding an exit interview with the departing employee can help you to better understand their reason for leaving and potentially adjust their future recruitment or operational processes.

As with all employee communication, exit interviews should be treated as a two-way dialogue. A chance for departing employees to fully explain why they’re leaving and for employers to potentially consider a different future approach. It’s a chance to learn valuable insights that benefit both the employee and the employer as they continue to navigate their future careers.

Like onboarding, an exit interview can prove to be very useful from an L&D perspective.


It gives employers and employees the opportunity to hear and understand each other’s perspectives and implement necessary L&D.💡

Useful Information

Building on our previous point, pretty much every single departing employee will hold a vast swath of information that you can extract to optimise operational performance.

This could be implementing cutting-edge, AI-driven L&D software, like Thirst’s, to accentuate employee performance, adapting KPIs, or even adopting a causal dress policy.

To do this, you’ll need to ask the right questions. This can be conducted at the exit interview stage or perhaps by asking departing employees to fill in a questionnaire.

Unsure what to ask? We’ve listed a few ideas below:

  • How do you think that the employee experience could be improved?
  • Is there anything that we could have done differently?
  • Are there any circumstances that would have convinced you to stay?
  • Were you happy with the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
  • Was the relationship with your manager and peers profitable?
  • Would you recommend this as a good place to work?

What to Include in Your Employee Offboarding Checklist?

As you’ve undoubtedly guessed, an offboarding checklist includes much more than just an exit interview, revoking digital access, and compiling paperwork. Astute employers invest in the process and see it as an opportunity to promote further growth and future prosperity. 💰 💰

Below is a basic breakdown of what to include in your employee offboarding checklist: 👇 👇

Learning Development Specific Tasks

1. Knowledge Capture and Transfer

  • Identify critical knowledge areas: determine the key skills and knowledge that the departing employee holds
  • Document expertise: ensure detailed documentation of processes, best practices, and any unique insights that the departing employee has
  • Create knowledge transfer plans: develop a structured plan for transferring knowledge to the remaining team members

2. Skills and Training Assessment

  • Training needs: evaluate the impact of the employee’s departure on the team to identify any skills shortfalls that need to be addressed
  • Record training history: update the departing employee’s training records to reflect any completed courses and certifications
  • Evaluate training programs: gather feedback on existing training programs and materials from the departing employee

3. Learning Resource Collection

  • Collect learning materials: make sure that all learning materials, manuals, and course content has been gathered from the departing employee
  • Centralise resources: store all learning resources in a centralised repository for future use

4. Continued Development Opportunities

  • Offer final training opportunities: if it’s feasible, offer departing employees opportunities to undertake any final training, professional development, or L&D sessions
  • Provide development resources: promote post-departure continuous learning, i.e., industry certifications or online courses

5. Succession Planning and Development

  • Identify successors: work with managers to identify potential successors and provide the necessary L&D plans
  • Develop succession plans: create a detailed succession plan to ensure a smooth responsibility plan

6. Exit Interview for L&D Feedback

  • Gather feedback on L&D programs: ask specific questions to understand how successful L&D programs, learning resources, and professional development opportunities have been
  • Document improvement suggestions: be sure to remember any suggestions that may enhance L&D initiatives based on employee experience

Employee Offboarding Checklist Template

Creating a comprehensive checklist, one that reflects everything you need to guarantee smooth employee offboarding can be time-consuming. To save you the effort, we’ve created our employee checklist template below. 👇

Boost Future Operational Success with Our Ultimate Employee Offboarding Checklist

As much as every employer aims to retain their employees, especially high-performing employees, resignations, and even terminations are a workplace reality.

It’s best to be prepared. To learn something from the experience. This promotes commercial prosperity and growth. 💰

This is why having an employee offboarding checklist is so important.

Remember every employer must learn to grow and grow to prosper, and an employee offboarding checklist is a great way to do this.

Hone operations. Perform better. Retain valued employees. Create business, organisation, and customer ambassadors. Safeguard your future. Remain compliant. All these benefits can be achieved with our ultimate employee offboarding checklist. 😄

Interested in learning how Thirst can help you to optimise L&D performance, helping you to build a robust interdepartmental team, one that will help you to negate the prospect of repeated employee offboarding? Contact us today.

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For more e-learning insights, resources and information, discover the Thirst blog

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