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Remote Employee Offboarding 101: Definition, Tips and Procedure 

An employee offboarding process occurs when an employee undergoes permanent separation from the organisation. Employee offboarding can either be voluntary— i.e. the employee makes the decision to resign, or involuntary— i.e. the employee is let go. Regardless of the reasons, it’s important for HR to manage offboarding smoothly as this marks the final interaction departing employees have with the company. 

Here’s a brief yet insightful video on why having an effective offboarding process is vital to both employee and organisation: 

Often, employees are left feeling disgruntled or dissatisfied by their offboarding experience. In fact, many companies hardly accommodate one! During the pandemic, providing a smooth offboarding process for both employee and organisation actually becomes a lot more crucial when you consider: 

  • The unstable economic climate
  • High rates of employee turnover 
  • Maintaining company reputation 
  • Engaging and retaining talent 
  • The ways in which remote working affects business processes (i.e. workplace communication, transferring duties, HR responsibilities, and so on)

How can HR ensure a comfortable exit and accommodate both sides in this process? How are professional relations maintained all the way to the end? And for perhaps the most pressing question… How can all this be managed remotely in a post-COVID world? 

Onboarding new employees matters just as much as the offboarding process. Check out this article on how to pull off a successful onboarding process during the pandemic!  

Best practices for an employee offboarding process

Offboarding an employee differs from one organisation to another, depending on numerous factors such as the employee’s age and role, size of team and workplace culture. In general, however, there are four main stages departing employees should undergo. 

1. Resignation Process 

After plans of resignation have been communicated, have the employee affirm their last day of work before passing on the relevant information to HR. This is so that HR can proceed with reviewing the necessary paperwork, preparing a resignation contract (It’s important to have it all down in writing!), payroll matters and other administrative procedures. 

2. Exit Interview

Scheduling an exit interview is a good way of getting the employee’s comments on their position, their overall experience with the company and their reasons for leaving, wherever applicable. Allowing space for the exchange of feedback is a fine opportunity to end the contract on both formal and amicable terms. 

Inform the rest of the team as well of the employee’s departure and plan a farewell party together or write a card as a gesture of goodwill. Make their final moments in the company worth remembering! 

3. Handover Duties 

As the employee’s final day approaches, have them prepare to hand over their responsibilities to other members of the team. Work with the employee to create a list of tasks which require taking over from, and schedule training sessions where necessary. 

4. Returning worktools and other security matters

The final stage aims to tie up all loose ends, such as implementing security measures and returning of equipment. In tackling the logistics of an employee’s exit, it helps to create an exit checklist for them to ensure all company assets such as uniforms, access cards and computers have been returned in appropriate condition. 

Adopt a zero trust policy when factoring in potential security breaches— work with the IT department to shut down former employee accounts, reset passwords and remove basically every access to internal data. 

Tips for remote offboarding 

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Managing a remote employee pretty much means mostly everything will be communicated and executed online. As a matter of fact, some teams never meet in real life throughout the entire duration of the employee’s tenure. When carrying out remote offboarding, not meeting face-to-face increases the likelihood of some procedures slipping through the cracks. 

After the employee confirms his/her resignation, work closely with HR in processing all legal documents and removing account access. Conduct frequent check-in calls yourself to ensure issues like transfer of duties and important dates (last day of work, exit interview, etc.) are properly scheduled. Creating a digital checklist will also guide departing employees in ensuring all company-owned work tools are returned and important online forms are filled, such as any non-disclosure agreements. 

Upon settling administrative matters, take the time to announce their departure to the rest of the team and thank the employee for their service. Try to make everything as intentional as you can. Oftentimes, sincerity can be easy to miss when it’s communicated mostly through a screen. Although an in-person farewell may be temporarily unfeasible, there are other ways to bid a team member goodbye. Have a group coffee over Skype, deliver a hamper to their address or organise several exciting rounds of HaxBall after work! (Disclaimer: This could get competitive.

Networking matters even after the employee is no longer a part of the organisation. Don’t forget to stay connected, whether via LinkedIn or Facebook (depending on your level of comfort)! 

Automate your employee offboarding process (build forms, design workflows and store database records) efficiently with Forma’s no code software. Try it here for free. 

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