26 August 2014

Why You Should Care About Offboarding, A Lot


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Recruitment and retention Talent management


Offboarding’s an extremely important part of the employee life cycle, yet many brands ignore this process. Here’s why you should care about offboarding, a lot.

Just as onboarding is the process by which a company ensures that a new starter is integrated into the business culture as efficiently as possible, offboarding should be used to ensure that an employee leaves the business in the best way. There are a number of reasons why it’s important for brands to invest time and effort into their offboarding process. These include:

Because data security is more important than ever

Why-You-Should-Care-About-Offboarding-A-LoDo you have processes in place which ensure your data is secure and access to internal systems is only available to current employees? Although this may seem an obvious and very important part of any offboarding process, many brands leave their systems open to ex employees for days, sometimes weeks, after their leaving date.

Your offboarding process should be clearly defined and understood by all those involved. All data security areas should be included in your offboarding check list, such as general network access passwords, VPN access, cloud systems and email.

Creating a log of the different access logins that each employee has to company sensitive information is one way to ensure that these are closed off when that employee leaves the business.

Clearly define whose responsibilities include the removal of access. Whether it’s a specific person, department or even several individuals, accountability and clarity is essential.

There are systems, such as Ciphr Connect, which will automate these processes and eliminate the risk of data being left open to non-employees. By creating triggers that set off certain tasks automatically, you remove the reliance on manual intervention and possible error.

It’s not just virtual access that needs to be taken into account either, physical access to data in the form of external hard drives, laptops and USB sticks need to be included in the offboarding process.

Because honest feedback helps you to improve your brand

Including exit interviews in your offboarding process allows your employees to give feedback about their employment with you.
Feedback from employees that are leaving the business will often be more open and honest than that of current employees who don’t want to say the wrong thing or seem negative.

Depending on the circumstances of the employee exiting the business, it may be that their responses are inherently negative. In these instances the business must use its judgement as to what feedback is genuine, and should be acted on, and those comments which are as a result of bad feelings.

Of course, it’s not all about negative feedback, an employee may be leaving for reasons completely removed from their employment with you and give very positive comments.

Regardless of the outcome of the exit interview, it’s important that the business takes note and acts on the observations of employees.

Because brand advocates aren’t just current employees

If an employee has a happy and successful time with a business and leaves on good terms, then they’re likely to recommend the brand to friends and family. As mentioned above, employees don’t always leave because they are unhappy, assuming that they do is a terrible mistake to make and can cause unnecessary bad feeling.

With websites such as Glassdoor growing in popularity as a reference for potential talent to research your brand, it’s important to maximise the chances of receiving positive reviews from both existing and ex employees.

It may also be that ex employees could continue to use the services and products which you supply. If they leave on bad terms then they’re unlikely to do so and will probably move to a competitor.

Because ex employees come back

ex-employees-returning-to-brandIn some cases, ex employees return to work for your business. Burning bridges with employees will mean that you miss out on the expertise and talent which they can offer the business.
As well as the experience and talent that ex employees can offer, the cost to hire is generally a lot lower than it would be through a recruitment agency or advertising the vacancy.

Once the employee has returned to the company, they can be up and running much sooner than an employee with no prior knowledge of the business and its culture. They’ll know the in’s and out’s of business processes and, depending on the length of time they were away from the business, they may also know the customer base too.

Because social media is a powerful enemy

With everyone taking to social media to tell the world about good, and more importantly, bad experiences, it’s imperative not to let employees leave feeling that they have to inform others of their bad experience with your brand.

The last thing that any company needs is to go viral for the wrong reasons. Bad publicity on the scale that’s possible through social media can cripple a business over something that often could have been easily avoided. Some horror stories that illustrate just what can happen from the smallest of mistakes are included in this article.