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Why employee offboarding matters to your company’s success
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Why employee offboarding matters to your company’s success

A headshot of Simon Kirrane
Simon Kirrane
4th July, 2024
12 min read
A goodbye card with 'Good Luck' on the front on a stylised background
A headshot of Simon Kirrane
Simon Kirrane
4th July, 2024
12 min read
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What is employee offboarding?
Five reasons why employee offboarding matters
Employee offboarding: A five-step check list
Employee offboarding: Best practice tips
Why use Confluence for employee offboarding

You may have the perfect process to onboard employees, but have you considered the importance of employee offboarding?

Did you know only 29% of companies have a formal offboarding strategy? This could be a missed opportunity, especially as an informal process can create huge risks, including data breaches and financial losses.

One survey suggests that an incredible 50% of ex-employees can still access corporate applications - something a good employee offboarding process would eliminate.

While employee onboarding documents can include a range of items and be added to over time, employee offboarding must be structured correctly to protect your business. With that said, let’s ensure you get employee offboarding right.

What is employee offboarding?

Employee offboarding is the consistent and systematic process followed during an employee's exit from a business to reduce risk. Examples include password retrieval, knowledge transfer, and formal documentation. Employee offboarding reduces reputational risk and the chance of intentional/malicious data breaches.

Five reasons why employee offboarding matters to your company’s success

1. Protect your assets
The stats around data breaches are striking, and many point to employee offboarding failures. In a study of 500 IT decision makers, 20% reported that their inability to de-provision employees from corporate applications has contributed to a data breach at their organisation. Of those, 47% say more than 10% of all data breaches have resulted from ex-employees. In a separate study, 88% of IT workers said they would take company data with them if fired.

2. Support your managers
Managers who don't have a formal employee offboarding process to follow can easily fail to spot a weak point in their own attempts to offboard and despite their best efforts may let an employee leave without understanding a core part of their role, or without revoking access to an important system. This could lead to an intentional/malicious data breach or damage your brand reputation. The offboarding work needs to be spread across multiple departments, and a good process ensures managers are supported while they work to replace a valued team member.

3. Maintain morale
Handling departures professionally not only leaves the employee with an excellent lasting memory but helps maintain the morale of remaining employees, who see that the company treats all employees with respect and care, even if they have handed in their notice or been let go. If you can praise employees for an excellent handover and help during offboarding, you will show this is valued behaviour to mimic.

4. Gain valuable feedback
Employee offboarding as a process can provide insights into areas of improvement within the company, helping to enhance the work environment for current and future employees.

5. Create boomerang hires
A positive experience at offboarding can help you rehire! Employees treated with dignity and respect as they leave may tell others of their positive experience; and could even return in the future. According to a recent international survey, nearly 20% of workers who quit during the pandemic have since returned to their old employers. Rehired employees are quick to get started, know the systems and ways of working, and can slot back in if the reason for leaving has been permanently solved.

Employee offboarding: A five-step checklist

Great offboarding starts well before an employee exits! During their tenure, all employees should have a documented list of the tools, hardware, and responsibilities they can access. A detailed checklist to ensure all steps are completed and nothing is overlooked is critical. If you don’t have anything, get started now! Use Confluence to create a centralised area to contain all your employee information and offboarding documents and process steps.

Step 1: Confirm and notify
A manager should alert HR and confirm resignation or termination in writing with the individual's name, role, and termination date.

Step 2: Assign a task list
Now is the time to assign tasks internally to team members to action, such as deactivating digital accounts, creating a final payment, or removing an employee from the benefits scheme.

You may want to remind your teams of the protocols (e.g. ensuring that data on returned devices is securely wiped or transferred to company servers before the devices are repurposed or disposed of).

Step 3: Create a wrap-up letter
This is for the employee and sent as soon as you can, where you confirm the exit details. Include:
  • The date of their last day.
  • Any final payments and how this was calculated, as well as benefit eligibility.
  • Details of the handover requirements, e.g. project summary, documentation and knowledge, and where to store this information.
  • Details of when and where to hand over company equipment.
  • Details of an exit interview and what to expect.
  • A message of thanks from the business/CEO/Manager.

Step 4: Start knowledge transfer
Ensure managers have a checklist resource for employees to fill in to transfer knowledge and responsibilities to a designated colleague or new hire.
You may want to ask them to:
  • Document current projects with milestones and deadlines.
  • Create a guide for crucial tasks.
  • Describe where to find relevant documentation and that these are organised logically.
  • List key contacts, including internal and external stakeholders, with contact methods.
  • Share access information for the tools used.
  • Transfer ownership of files in shared drives.
  • Highlight any potential risks or challenges the team should be aware of.
  • Suggest possible solutions or mitigation strategies.

Step 5: Revoke access and hold an exit interview
On the departure day, confirm that you have disabled access to systems and hold an exit interview.

During the exit interview, employees may be reminded of their obligations regarding essential elements such as returning company property or deleting company data.

You might also ask them to sign a general acknowledgement that they have returned all company property and can no longer access company systems.

Items to check on an employee's final day of employment


  • ID Card/Employee Badge/Keys
  • Benefits portal
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Intranet
  • Chat tools
  • Bulletin boards
  • Company newsletter
  • Ensure no further access to customer databases and records
  • Ensure the deletion of any private records or strategy documents

Payroll / Finance

  • Payroll System
  • Credit cards
  • Financial reports
  • Time tracking apps
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Process final payroll, including any unused annual leave or benefits
  • Provide information on post-employment benefits and final paperwork

IT / Technology / Marketing
  • Email Accounts
  • Website access/CMS access
  • Marketing channel access
  • VPN
  • Internal network
  • Hardware (laptops, phones, tablets, dongles)
  • Software (Helpdesk, financial, analytics, support, customer-facing)
  • Cloud storage including systems like Trello, Confluence, Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive
  • Social media access
  • Team collaboration tools (e.g. Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana)

Exit Interview
  • Conduct a 1-2-1 exit interview to gather feedback on the employee's experience and reasons for leaving.
  • Ensure you ask about pain points, such as capacity and balance in their role, which can help during your rehiring process.
  • Use this feedback to identify potential areas for improvement within the organisation.

Employee offboarding: Best practice tips

Start now!
A comprehensive guide to what employees work on and what systems they have in place can be created today. This makes offboarding much simpler when you already have a checklist of what items they use, projects they are working on, and hardware.

Be transparent
Clearly communicate what you do when you offboard an employee and why it matters. Ensure that employees know that there is a process they will be expected to follow when they do leave, so it never comes as a surprise.

Try and stay in touch with former employees, especially those who left on good terms. You could recommend them on LinkedIn or tell them you will leave a good recommendation. Maintaining a positive relationship and opening the door for potential rehiring opportunities is a great idea and means if knowledge gaps are left, there is a chance they could help you out.

Listen to their feedback
The exit interview and offboarding process are great times to listen carefully and review how you could make real changes that will affect the tenure of future employees. Don’t view it as something to do to tick a box. When you engage further and ask questions, you'll get really important insights.

Why use Confluence for employee offboarding

We think Confluence offers a great way to centralise documentation. Here’s what’s possible:

  • Offboarding Checklist: Create your detailed offboarding checklist page on Confluence.

  • Knowledge Transfer Templates: Use Confluence templates to standardise the documentation of key responsibilities, ongoing projects, and critical contacts the departing employee needs to transfer.

  • Personal Knowledge Base: Encourage departing employees to document their tasks, processes, and tips in their personal space on Confluence, which can be shared with their successor or team.

  • Team Pages: Use team pages to compile collective knowledge and project updates, ensuring that valuable insights are not lost when an employee leaves.

  • Exit Interview Forms: Create and store exit interview forms on Confluence to collect feedback and insights from departing employees. This feedback can be used to improve future onboarding and offboarding processes.

  • Task Reminders: Set up automated task reminders for HR and IT teams to ensure all offboarding tasks are completed on time.

  • Announcement Pages: Use Confluence to create announcement pages to inform the team about the departure and introduce the new employee taking over the responsibilities.

  • Training Materials: Store and add to all training materials and onboarding documents in Confluence.

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Written by
A headshot of Simon Kirrane
Simon Kirrane
Senior Content Marketing Manager
With a 20-year career in content marketing, Simon has represented a range of international brands. His current specialism is the future of work and work management. Simon is skilled at launching content pipelines, establishing powerful brands, and crafting innovative content strategies.

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