Everyone is familiar with the employee onboarding process. Activities such as orientation, technology setup, and welcome exercises are meant to integrate new employees with the team in an uplifting and constructive manner to benefit both the employees and the business. Similarly, when a downturn in business necessitates a workforce reduction, offboarding procedures can have long-term impacts on the business. Respectful offboarding processes are extremely important to maintain employee attitudes towards your business. Why is Offboarding Important? A successful onboarding process adds value as it integrates a new employee into the team in a seamless manner. With a proper orientation, the new employee can get acquainted with the team and climb the learning curve faster to become a valuable contributor in less time. However, when the relationship between the employee and employer is severed for any reason, the offboarding process is also an opportunity to create value. Ensuring the separation is an amiable experience can benefit the company in numerous ways.
- Networking – Former employees can be ambassadors for your company
- Reputation – Mistreating personnel during layoffs can tarnish company reputation
- Restaffing – When business turns around, your company may wish to rehire employees
- Legal Action – Respectful offboarding is less likely to result in costly legal action from affected employees
For example, an employee let go during a business downturn could be rehired when the company begins to expand again. An offboarding experience that is cold and harsh could make the difference as to whether or not the employee is willing to rejoin when the business is hiring again. Another common situation could be an employee let go at a moment’s notice during a merger when the business knew well in advance that a workforce reduction was imminent. An unexpected layoff will leave people feeling abandoned and perhaps angry. This can in turn lead to outpouring of grief on social media and company review websites that would tarnish the reputation of the business for a long period of time. These negative consequences of improper offboarding can certainly be avoided. There are specific programs and strategies a business needs to consider when formulating an offboarding procedure. CONVEX Leadership Offboarding Tips The team of transition experts at CONVEX Leadership has developed a system for conducting offboarding in a smooth and constructive manner:
- Advance Notice – Communicate a reduction in force (RIF) in advance from events such as a merger or business downturn. Letting employees know ahead of time makes them seem feel ambushed and can decrease negative attitudes.
- Develop Severance Criteria – Create a plan for selecting the employees affected by the RIF.
- Mitigate Legal and Security Risks – Ensure company legal groups and security resources are informed and prepared for the transition. Having everything in order keeps the transition smooth during a rough time in businesses.
- Prepare Script for Affected Employees – Keep in mind that each employee is an individual whose perspective will be shaped by the manner in which the severance is communicated. Preparing copy in advance allows a company to control the message they are communicating and outlining exactly what they wish to say.
- Offboarding is Critical for Companies of all Sizes – It may seem that only large companies would need proper offboarding, but this is not true. Offboarding has a strong impact on relationships and networking which can be even more important for smaller companies–especially since there tends to be fewer employees meaning a special care in the offboarding procedure is required.
The offboarding process should aim to make the transition smooth and respectful. If done properly, former employees will retain an amicable relationship with the company rather than be some of their harshest critics. CONVEX Leadership truly understands the importance of employee offboarding and is dedicated to delivering strategic HR leadership for interim or long-term needs. Click here to learn more about COVEX Leadership’s Transition Services.