Offboarding Meaning: Process and Checklist Template

The Offboarding Meaning in The Employer-Employee Relationship.


Offboarding means the process when an employee leaves a company. Offboarding is the formal separation between an employee and the company. 

As effective onboarding can set you up for success, offboarding must also affect pretty much on the company’s employee branding, talent attraction and even engagement and retention of employees. In addition, it will be an opportunity to get some feedback by conducting a offboarding exit interview.

This article will give you an introduction to the offboarding meaning and why it is an important part of the employee lifecycle. In addition, we will discuss about what does onboarding and offboarding mean. Afterwards, we will address both processes as stages of your employee lifecycle

You also can download your offboarding checklist template below:

Offboarding Meaning


Offboarding plays a vital role at the end of your employee lifecycle. A formal offboarding meaning is as follows: offboarding employees is the process that leads to the formal separation between an employee and a company through resignation, termination, or retirement.

Offboarding refers to all the activities that ensure a smooth transition for an employee out of an organization and, in some cases, it facilitates the transfer of knowledge to other employees. 

Offboarding’s meaning extends beyond the formal administrative processes related to an employee departing. While it does also contain elements such as handing over equipment and clarifying final financial payments, it also serves as an insight to the HR department. 

A well-planned offboarding programme can establish a strong connection between the departing employee and the organization. It can leave open a window of opportunity for future collaborations.


Only 29% of global organisations have a formal offboarding process.

—According to Currentwave.

The Four Main Benefits of Offboarding Employees Properly


Whenever an employee leaves an organization, they might leave some tasks unfinished, presenting dangerous security breaches and potential data leaks. However, when the process is properly managed, it ensures that there is nothing lost and there are no opportunities for any data or security breach.

Employee offboarding is essential for business owners and managers. They should know how offboarding fits into the employee lifecycle. HR should define the whole process, plan accordingly, and make strategic changes that benefit the company in the long run. 

Some of the main benefits of offboarding include: 


1. Maintains a Positive Employer Reputation

Offboarding says a lot about an organization. When an employee departs on good terms with the company, it will be reflected as positive employer branding. 

Both parties will benefit from a positive offboarding experience. Additionally, employees experiences within the company will qualify you as an ambassador for employer branding even when you no longer work there. You can recommend or, on the contrary, deter a friend or acquaintance from pursuing employment in that organization if you felt like you were mistreated.

According to a Glassdoor U.S. Survey, 70% of job candidates look through a company’s reviews before making their career decisions. Considering that the reviews are left both by current and former employees, a professionally handled offboarding is essential for maintaining a positive employer reputation.


2. Improves Employee Retention Rate

Employee branding, talent attraction, engagement, and retention are normally linked to each other. If employees are engaged and motivated, they will probably stay longer in the company. And this is something that affects the company’s external communication and its employee branding. Then, people will like to work in that place.

In the meantime, employees have been working in teams with colleagues and building bonds with different people. A departing process especially affects even more if the employee has been in the company for a long period. The rest of the coworkers will be very close to her or his offboarding process.


3. Manages Logistical Challenges

It helps manage the logistical challenges of exiting a workplace (such as, for example, handing off equipment and revoking access credentials).


4. Enhances Productivity

A good offboarding process will boost the organization’s productivity by simplifying the activities of every department in the company that has to participate in offboarding employees. In this way, nobody will end up wasting time on activities or projects where they would not be able to contribute in any way.


5. Increases Security

An effective offboarding process prevents the organization from the risks of data leaks or security breaches.


6. It’s an opportunity to Improve Processes

It helps in getting valuable feedback for improvement when using the offboarding exit interview.

What Does an Offboarding Process Entail?


The offboarding process is the method of managing a formal separation between an employee and a company. It is a process that speaks volumes about an organisation and how the departing employees perceive it. According to Tiffanie Ross, Senior Director of AIRS, the offboarding process “speaks to the fact that you, the employee, matter. Employees are important, no matter the reason for the departure.”

If an employee has resigned, retired, or been terminated, the offboarding process can begin. To achieve as smooth a transition as possible, the employee in collaboration with the company’s HR department should perform a series of tasks. 

A survey conducted by Cyber-Ark, a security firm, revealed that 88% of IT workers would take sensitive data and information with them if they were fired, and 72% of CEOs in a Code42 report admitted they had taken valuable intellectual property from a former employer. Despite these huge risks, only 29% of global organisations have a formal offboarding process, according to Currentwave.


Offboarding Procedures: What Are the Steps Involved?


Exemplary offboarding procedures offer a helpful guide assisting you in adequately structuring the offboarding policy of your workplace.

We approachinng the offboarding procedures with a six stage approach. So, here are the stages involved in a complete offboarding process:


Stage 1: Managing the Termination Process

When an employee is leaving a company through resignation, retirement or termination, the following activities are carried out:

  • Documenting the contract termination: the departing employee will sign a formal letter of resignation/ termination etc.
  • Schedule an exit interview: an exit interview is arranged for the employee to give feedback on his experience with the company, role, and reasons for leaving the company.
  • Inform the team members: the impending departure of a member will be communicated to other team members. Also, the management must ensure that the communication lines are open to ensure the team is supported and confident going forward.
  • Communicate with clients: if the worker deals directly with the clients, they should be notified, and the person who takes over from the exiting worker should be communicated to clients to ensure continuity and reaffirmed confidence.


Stage 2: Preparing the Necessary Paperwork

  • Contract review: the final review of the employee’s contract is done to ensure everything is in order and to find out any special mentions, for example of severance pay, notice period etc.
  • Preparing compensation, benefits, and relevant tax documents: this entails processing outstanding employee reimbursement. Finally, your employer should prepare tax and benefits documents prior to your departure.


Stage 3: Planning the Work Hand-off Process

  • It will be essential for your company to determine who takes over from you once your employment is over.
  • Identify the required training need: you as a departing employee might be required to groom your successor so as to ensure continuity.
  • Preparing information and files for handoff: as an exiting employee you might be required to gather the relevant information or files that the successor will need access to, including software passwords and account lists.


Stage 4: Creating an Employee Offboarding Checklist and/ or an Offboarding Process Flowchart

As previously mentioned, there are various tools that your company could use to both communicate with you the details of your offboarding process, and to ensure that no details are left out unchecked.

If your employer chooses to utilise an offboarding checklist, you could expect to see listed some of the following activities:

  • Return company’s equipment such as ID badge, laptop, uniforms, and mobile phones.
  • Remove personal belonging: clearing the desk or locker of any personal items.
  • Arrange office records, files or training materials.

Another example of tool is the offboarding process flowchart, which will clearly illustrate the key tasks and stakeholders involved in the offboarding process to ensure a clearly set-out and successful performance of all the required activities. After all, the clearer the process, the lower the chances for miscommunication, misalignment and misunderstandings.


Stage 5: Account Resetting

  • Removing your access to email and other systems.
  • Changing the passwords to which you have been having access to during your employment period.
  • Notifying relevant teams of the change of personnel.


Stage 6: Wrapping up the Process

  • Receiving a thank-you note.
  • Optional: sending a farewell message to your team and encouraging further networking (for example on LinkedIn).
  • Optional: receiving a personalised goodbye gift.
  • Organising a farewell party for being sent off on a good note.
  • Updating the workplace’s organisational chart.

For example, at Amazon, offboarding process is referred to as the Pivot: it is a termination policy that focuses on the betterment of the departing employee.

The Seven Tasks From the Employee Offboarding Checklist


The employee offboarding checklist details every necessary task that must be performed when an employee is departing a workplace. This should be followed in order to ensure that the exit of the employee from a company is without malice from either side. 


1. Build a Communication Plan for the Employee’s Departure

The employee offboarding checklist assists companies in planning the communication of your exit. Communicating the departure of the employee should be preceded by an agreement between employee and employer.


2. Facilitate the Knowledge Transfer to the Successor

When an employee leaves the company, it is crucial that they transfer their knowledge regarding their occupation to their successor. This ensures that no operational vacuum is created. The departing employee will hand over to the successor in some critical aspects of the role.


3. Recover Company Assets

Before an employee departs a company, it is crucial that they return company assets. HR can draw up a list of company assets together with you and the systems administrator or workforce manager to make sure there is a clear inventory drafted ahead of time.


4. Update IT-Permit and Access

This step in the employee offboarding checklist is to guard against security breaches. The IT-department will disable any access relating to the departing employee to prevent you from accessing any information related to the company. An IT-offboarding checklist could also be used to streamline the IT-offboarding process. 

Regardless of the type of job, chances are that there is at least an IT-system in place to manage the employee’s work. For example, a scheduling platform where you can also interact with coworkers regarding your shifts is a classic example of IT-system credentials that need to be revoked for departing employees.


5. Conduct an Offboarding Exit Interview

Conducting an offboarding exit interview is another important activity from the employee offboarding checklist. The exit interview can be performed either as a face-to-face discussion between the employee and the HR manager or via a questionnaire. 

The data collected from an exit interview allows an organization to discover where it needs to intervene in order to further enhance its image with current and future employees. It also helps to gain a better understanding of the overall employee experience within the company, regardless of the employee’s stage of the employee lifecycle.


6. Proceed to the Payment of the Employee’s Entitlement

Employees have to receive all the information related to any financial entitlements upon the conclusion of her/his employment.

Once they receive all the necessary information, they will know the time frame for receiving any financial benefits. This may not occur right when the employment relationship concludes.


7. Prepare for Future Reference Requests

In the future, even after the employment is formally concluded, the employee might need the employer as a reference for another job offer. Hence, any organization should have accurate and detailed records relating to employment.


About 88% of IT workers would take sensitive data and information with them if they were fired.

—According to a survey conducted by Cyber-Ark.

Employee Offboarding Template


Having a structured process can ensure a professional exit that leaves no loose ends or potential for misunderstandings. 

To make the process of offboarding as smooth as possible, introdus has created an offboarding checklist template. We offer a variety of templates in different formats: 


Employee Offboarding Checklist Template

A properly structured offboarding process with vital checklists will guide the departure of an employee. An employee offboarding checklist template can be easily customized. It is an employee offboarding template that, among other things, assists in achieving a constructive professional assessment of the roles and responsibilities handled by the departing employee. 

Furthermore, whether the employee resigns, retires, or is dismissed, the employee offboarding checklist template will make the offboarding process easy to comprehend. It will make the right impression on the employee. In turn, this could make you share positive views about an organization among their professional career network.

You can download your offboarding checklist template below:

An offboarding checklist template is an offboarding instrument that assists employers in managing every step of the offboarding process to ensure nothing is left out. 

An offboarding checklist template can promote your employer’s branding, while it deals with the departing employee fairly and professionally. Also, you can use this offboarding checklist in Excel format that can be modified to suit every organization’s offboarding needs. It is a time-saving offboarding instrument.

In addition, prevent organizations from being vulnerable to cyber-attacks and security breaches because it details the process of denying access to the departing employees.


Employee Offboarding Checklist Template: IT Focus

Just as IT-onboarding is a crucial component of a structured onboarding programme, it is just as essential to focus on IT-offboarding when employees are exiting a company. After all, being an employee grants them access to sensitive data and business information.

Similarly, departing employees has to return any company property, unless they have made a different agreement. It is customary for companies to require the return of all equipment on their last day at the office. Or, in case of remote workers, to ship all equipment within a specific timeframe from the last day on the job. Failure to comply might affect their final salary compensation.

We thought it would be helpful to provide them with an additional employee offboarding checklist template focused on IT-offboarding. 

We considered that a separate IT-offboarding checklist template can provide a very clear overview of the IT-offboarding process, separate from other administrative or social activities.

You can retrieve and download the IT offboarding checklist template below:

Employee Onboarding vs Offboarding


We define Onboarding as the process of integrating a new hire into a company, having a dual purpose. First and foremost, facilitating cultural and social integration and relationship-building. Secondly, providing all the information, skills and tools necessary for becoming a productive member of the team. You can always use an onboarding plan template.

As we just saw, we define offboarding as the process that leads to the formal separation between an employee and a company. It can be set in motion through resignation, termination, or retirement.


Strategic Objectives

We can conceptualise onboarding vs offboarding as two sides of the same coin. The coin being the employment relationship between an employee and an employer.

  • Manage workstation and credentials

For example, during the onboarding process employees take over their workstation and credentials to software tools (IT Onboarding). In the meantime, during offboarding employees will return that very equipment. Also, company will deactivate all their access credentials.

  • Manage employees training

Additionally, during onboarding employees receive training on the company processes and procedures. As part of their offboarding, one of their requirements might be passing that information to the person who will be taking over your role.

So, at this point, we can conceptualise onboarding-offboarding as opposite poles of their employee lifecycle.

  • Get the phenomenon of the “boomerang employee”

The phenomenon of the “boomerang employee” is not only becoming more mainstream. It refers to a former employee who returns to the company after some time away in other companies.

Companies are also becoming more accepting of employees that choose to go back. All of this is happening in the context of “the Great Resignation.”

If we use the boomerang employee experience as the background and overall framework for our conversation of onboarding vs offboarding, we can get a better understanding of how they are interconnected. Thus, offboarding is essential for setting a record of professionalism, networking and possible future collaborations. Thus, for leaving the doors open for a future reboardingsometimes also referred to as re-onboarding. 

  • Contribute to employer branding

Both onboarding and offboarding can have a big impact on an organisation’s employer branding. The satisfaction and happiness levels of both current and former employees can have an impact on how potential candidates will relate to the company in the future. as we highlighted above. It can also impact whether or not you will ever consider going back to work for the same employer.

Employer branding is especially relevant as more and more candidates invest time in investigating the company prior to even sending job applications.

In this context, the first point of contact with the culture of a company, through the onboarding process, and the final point of contact, through the offboarding process, are extremely important for your employee experiences.

  • Improve friends & family referrals

Additionally, highly satisfied employees are more prone to recommend the organisation to friends and family as a prospective employer. Thus, they are acting as ambassadors for a positive employer branding. Conversely, after a negative onboarding experience, 1 in 5 new hires are unlikely to recommend the employer to a family member or friend, according to a Digitate survey.

Pre & Onboarding Summit Insights

When hiring, instead of just getting a new employee, companies create an ambassador that calmly and easily can represent the company they are working for.

—Anders Thorup, Pre & Onboarding Specialist.

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On Off boarding Process: Conclusion


As shown throughout this article, offboarding is a process that painstakingly manages employees departure from a company and ensures that they have a positive when concluding the employment relationship with your employer.

Both the onboarding and offboarding processes are vital to the growth of an organisation. Onboarding enhances their ability to perform effectively, while offboarding will soothe the relationship between employees and company after their exit.

Both onboarding and offboarding are sensitive processes when dealing with remote employees. If you want to gain more insights into a remote onboarding process, we invite you to read the dedicated article on our blog HR. An effective offboarding process is, crucial when dealing with remote employees due to the fact that it is impossible to bid farewell in a social event when an employee is a remote worker.

A tool like introdus, employee onboarding software, will manage every business organisation’s onboarding and offboarding processes. Also, it will make employees have a wonderful experience while working in a workplace and, at the same time, offers them hassle-free exit from the workplace.

In conclusion, it is not ideal for any organisation to allow workers to depart with a disgruntled feeling. Their dissatisfaction could spur them to steal sensitive data from the company. However, an effective offboarding process ensures that the relationship between the company and the departing worker remains cordial and, at the same time, offers the employer a reassurance that no sensitive data will be mishandled by a departing employee.

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