ITSM for high-velocity teams

Understanding the offboarding process

Recruiting, hiring, and retaining the best people for your business is crucial. According to, the annual employee turnover rate is approximately 18%, making effective offboarding a nearly constant requirement for companies and their HR teams. Dealing effectively with those who resign, retire, or leave involuntarily can be costly and risky unless you offboard efficiently. 

Offboarding management is a critical element of IT management and ITSM strategies. It’s as essential as change management, problem management, and ITSM software. Offboarding policies and processes affect the company beyond IT. Without effective offboarding, goals such as continuous improvement, maximum agility, and high customer and employee satisfaction levels are difficult to achieve.

This article outlines specific steps and best practices for the offboarding process and explains how Jira Service Management can help automate and improve offboarding at your company.

What is offboarding?

Offboarding is the process of managing an employee's departure from a company. Offboarding ensures a smooth transition for both the employee and the business. Offboarding, the opposite of employee onboarding, is essential to HR policies and processes.

Why is offboarding important?

  • Better employee engagement: Effective offboarding processes make critical contributions to positive employee engagement. Employees who leave your business with positive feelings and experiences are likelier to recommend other candidates and refer customers. 
  • Less reputational risk: Employees with negative offboarding experiences are likelier to say adverse things about their experiences and their former employer. This can place your company at significant reputational risk.
  • Happier, more productive workers: Offboarding can significantly affect an employee’s journey through your company. Workforce management, including offboarding, can also directly affect employees' interactions with and perceptions of the technology and services that drive your business. ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library framework for IT service lifecycle management, includes a workforce management practice that addresses offboarding.

Zippia also reports that: 

  • 58% of companies surveyed have a formal onboarding process, but only 29% have a formal offboarding process.
  • 98% of employees believe the feedback they provide during exit interviews is essential and potentially helpful to the company, yet only 30 to 35% participate in those conversations online. In-person participation is as low as 15%.
  • 60% of data breaches originate within a company, two-thirds of which are malicious and intentional.
  • 89% of departed employees retain access to private applications and data at their former workplaces.

Benefits of effective employee offboarding

Effective employee offboarding offers multiple benefits for your business. A well-structured offboarding process can enhance team morale, increase employee productivity, and improve overall organizational performance. Below are some of the most significant benefits of employee offboarding.

Ensures a smooth transition

A smooth, non-disruptive transition of every departing employee is optimal for the employee and the company. Solid offboarding policies and practices enable this. An offboarding checklist must focus on transferring all relevant responsibilities and knowledge from the departing employee to their successor or former team members. This helps minimize disruptions to business operations.

Boosts employee morale

There is a direct connection between employee satisfaction and employee and corporate performance. Effective offboarding demonstrates care and respect for departing employees. It can result in happy departees who convey positive impressions of your business to current and potential employees and customers.

Happy departees are also less likely to try to hack your company’s computers or spread negative rumors about your business. Effective offboarding can also boost morale among remaining staff and contribute to higher retention rates, less employee turnover, and a positive workplace culture.

Builds brand reputation

How your company handles offboarding reflects its values and professionalism. This directly affects its reputation as an employer and as a business. Consistently positive offboarding experiences enhance your company's brand and improve its ability to attract and retain top talent.

Mitigates risk

The Verizon 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report found that company insiders cause 17% of data breaches. The threat of data breaches intentionally or accidentally created by poorly offboarded employees carries significant financial risk. In 2023, the global average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million.

Effective offboarding must include immediate revocation of access to sensitive information and retrieval of all company information assets. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of data breaches, theft, and legal disputes.

Proper offboarding procedures help mitigate risks associated with data and network security, intellectual property protection, and privacy. Consistent, documented offboarding processes can also aid compliance with regulations and industry frameworks and standards, such as HIPAA, SOC 2, ISO/IEC 27001, and ITIL.

Steps in the offboarding process

A consistent and comprehensive offboarding process is necessary to maximize the benefits to your business. Here are key steps to building the best offboarding process for your company.

Notify relevant teams

Notify pertinent teams as soon as you terminate an employee, or they give notice, starting with finance, HR, IT, and security. Additional notifications may be necessary, depending on the departing employee’s specific responsibilities.

Offboarding software tools can help you execute notification processes consistently. Jira Service Management features can automate and track necessary notifications, request and capture confirmations, and follow up on and escalate slow or missing responses.

Conduct an exit interview

Schedule an exit interview with each departing employee, in person or virtually. Focus on gathering feedback and ensuring a smooth transition for them, their former team, and your business.

Jira Service Management can help capture and track departing employees’ feedback. It can help your business deliver a better HR service experience by enabling seamless, non-disruptive offboarding.

Retrieve company property

The offboarding process must ensure the collection of all company-owned property from the departing employee. Examples include access badges, company-issued laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and other equipment.

Asset management processes and tools can help identify what property to collect. Jira Service Management includes asset management features, including integration with your asset management database.

Terminate access and permissions

Immediately revoke the departing employee's access to company systems, databases, and physical premises. Notify the departee and all relevant teams about the revocations during the exit interview, and secure confirmation from all parties. Jira Service Management can help automate these tasks for greater consistency and more effective risk avoidance.

Transfer knowledge

Encourage each departing employee to document their workflows and processes. This speeds knowledge transfer to the departee’s successor or team members. Capture and store this information in an easily accessible knowledge management system, such as a knowledge base created with Jira Service Management.

Provide support and assistance

Provide a positive and efficient experience for every departing employee, including support throughout the entire offboarding process. This can range from guidance on final paycheck receipt and continuation of benefits to help with finding employment or mental and emotional support providers.

Jira Service Management can make support and assistance resources easy to find, manage, and share. Include these resources in your company’s knowledge management efforts.

Best practices in employee offboarding

Implementing best practices for effective offboarding delivers maximum benefits to departing employees and your business. Focus on maintaining a positive company culture and connecting with departing employees during and after their departures.

Success with employee offboarding best practices depends on consistent, effective communication. The exit interview is a critical element of your offboarding process. It’s where the most crucial communication with each departing employee occurs and where they form lasting impressions of your company.

Jira Service Management can streamline employee offboarding, making it a more positive experience for departees and more efficient for your business.

The impact of offboarding on company culture

Effective offboarding can have multiple positive effects on company culture. Remaining employees feel reassured that your company cares about their well-being and productivity. Departing employees remain positively engaged with and loyal to your company.

Some may even become “boomerang” employees, departees who found working with you so positive that they want to return. Effective offboarding can cast a positive light on your company as a brand and an employer, helping draw favorable attention from current and potential customers and employees.

Automate the offboarding process with Jira Service Management

Effective offboarding can provide numerous benefits to your company and every departing employee. Developing, executing, and consistently enforcing offboarding processes based on best practices is critical to recruitment, hiring, and retention efforts. It also preserves and enhances your corporate brand and reputation.

Automation can help you craft the best possible offboarding processes and policies for your company. Jira Service Management's automation and knowledge management features can help your business streamline operations, reduce manual errors, and ensure consistent procedures.

Jira Service Management can also help with other complex HR workflows, enabling faster responses to employee requests with AI-powered support.

Offboarding: Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between onboarding and offboarding?

Onboarding refers to integrating a new employee into the company. Offboarding focuses on managing the separation process for employees who leave the company. Both are critical contributors to employee morale and retention, opinion of your business, and overall perception of your company and brand.

How can a company successfully offboard an employee?

Successful offboarding requires clear, consistent communication with all stakeholders. The company must create and maintain up-to-date documentation of all related processes and tasks.

Throughout the offboarding process, it’s essential to offer support and promote ongoing positive interactions with departing employees. Focus on minimizing operational disruptions and maximizing the protection of corporate resources and intellectual property.

Who is involved in employee offboarding?

Involve multiple teams to ensure that each offboarding transition is comprehensive, smooth, and beneficial to your company. Start with the finance, HR, IT, and security teams and add any other specific teams related to the departing employee.

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