Offboarding is the process of managing and facilitating an employee's departure from a company.

The purpose of offboarding is to ensure a smooth and organized transition for employees who are leaving a company.

Companies offboard employees for reasons like resignation, retirement, and termination. 

Offboarding vs. onboarding

Offboarding is the counterpart of onboarding, which involves integrating employees into a company and its team. Both onboarding and offboarding play a role in enhancing employee experience and ensuring efficient functioning within an organization.

Let's explore the differences and similarities between the two:

Focus and activities

Onboarding focuses on welcoming new hires and getting them ramped up to own their roles. Steps within onboarding include payroll and benefits setup, company and team orientation, training, and integrating new hires into a company's culture, tools, and daily operations.

Offboarding concentrates on the departure experience of an employee and includes exit interviews, returning company equipment, revoking access to systems, and notifying relevant departments of the employee’s departure.


Onboarding typically starts as soon as the employee accepts the job offer and extends through their initial weeks or months on the job.

The offboarding process begins when an employee notifies the company of their plan to leave—or when the employer notifies the employee of their termination—and extends anywhere from a day to a few weeks, depending on applicable notice periods.

Relationship with the employee

Both onboarding and offboarding typically aim to support building and maintaining relationships with employees, whether those employees are joining or leaving a company.

In offboarding, the company seeks to part ways amicably, assuming no misconduct, to maintain a healthy relationship and facilitate a seamless transition for the departing employee.


Onboarding involves paperwork related to payroll, benefits, non-disclosure agreements, the new employee’s role and responsibilities, and training.

Offboarding requires records on the employee's departure, such as termination agreements, final pay, and benefits information.

Read also: Best Practices for Onboarding International Employees

What is the purpose of offboarding?

Offboarding is a professional and respectful way for employees and employers to part ways professionally. Offboarding is also a valuable tool for identifying areas of improvement within the company and for current and future employees.

Why is offboarding important?

Effective offboarding fosters positive relationships with former employees and employers, safeguards company assets, and promotes seamless business continuity.

Additionally, the offboarding experience plays a role in shaping the employer brand, as the treatment of employees during the offboarding process can leave a lasting impression beyond their departure.

What does the offboarding process entail?

The offboarding process involves several key steps to encourage an easier transition for departing employees and to fulfill administrative requirements.

While specific steps may differ depending on the organization and reason for departure, here is a general guideline for the offboarding process:

  1. Notification of departure. The employee formally informs the company about their intention to leave through a resignation letter or by discussing it with their supervisor or HR representative.
  2. Communication with departments. Teams such as IT and finance are notified of the employee's departure to ensure a coordinated effort in managing logistics during the offboarding process.
  3. Completion of work assignments. The company, manager, or team collaborates with the departing employee to finish any pending tasks and smoothly transfer knowledge and responsibilities to team members or successors.
  4. Exit interview. Leadership or HR conducts final interviews to gather feedback from the departing employee. This is an excellent time for the company to collect information on improving and retaining high-performing team members.
  5. Return of company property. The departing employee returns all company-owned items, such as laptops, mobile devices, access cards, keys, and other equipment or materials the organization provides.
  6. Access revocation. The company revokes departing employees' access to company systems, networks, and confidential information to aid data security.
  7. Benefit and payroll processing. HR processes the final paycheck, ensuring that it includes any accrued vacation or leave balances, then provides information about the continuation of benefits, such as health insurance.
  8. Exit paperwork. The employee completes necessary exit paperwork, such as the return of company property form, non-disclosure agreements, and any exit surveys.
  9. Farewell message and recognition. The employee often sends a farewell message internally to colleagues. Some team members may throw a farewell party, while others may wish the departing employee well in their future endeavors.
  10. Legal compliance. The company confirms adherence to employment laws and regulations during the offboarding process. This includes addressing any legal requirements for termination, severance, or final pay.

How long does the offboarding process take?

While timelines vary, offboarding an employee may take anywhere from a day to a few weeks, depending on applicable notice periods.

Offboarding best practices

Poorly managing the offboarding process for an employee can disrupt a team, especially if it lacks effective management. Along with the offboarding process above, here are a few best practices to implement when saying goodbye to an employee:

  • Communicate with coworkers. Sharing news of an employee's departure is vital for transparency, reducing team uncertainty, and ensuring a seamless transition for everyone.
  • Offer employee transition assistance. Offer support services, such as career counseling or outplacement assistance, to help the departing employee navigate their next career steps.
  • Update internal documentation. Updating internal documentation, such as contact information and organizational charts, helps employees continue working after a team member's departure.

Disclaimer: The intent of this document is solely to provide general and preliminary information for private use. Do not rely on it as an alternative to legal, financial, taxation, or accountancy advice from an appropriately qualified professional. © 2024 Velocity Global, LLC. All rights reserved.

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