Yuvraj Singh, the legendary Indian southpaw, recently retired from all international and first-class cricket. It was a fairly quiet exit for the man who famously hit Stuart Broad for 6 sixes in an over; the hero of the 2011 World Cup. A more befitting end would’ve been a farewell on the field, deserving of a player who has etched himself into the collective memories of thousands of fans. Goodbyes are difficult to pull off properly, and even proven servants of the game may leave with a bitter taste in their mouths, as evidenced by the farewells of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.
This incident, along with many others, begs the question – why do we end up neglecting the exit? It’s not as if the phenomena is limited to the world of cricket. This is something that entities, industries and organisations of all types have to deal with. The exit is as important as the recruitment and onboarding process, and it is important that companies spend enough time and resources charting out a dynamic exit management process. This is what is called ‘offboarding’. It refers to all the decisions and processes that take place when an employee decides to leave an organisation.
Offboarding carries with it a fair share of complications. You can’t use the same process to offboard every leaving employee. The policies and procedures involved in offboarding differ with its types (resignation, layoff, retirement, contractual). The complexity of the offboarding processes depends on the organisation, but the more time and care you take with these processes, the better experience your employees will have. It can have elements of doubt and a certain risk for employees and organisations alike. Without careful communication, both sides may question the motivation of the other. In the case of employee resignation, the employer may question if there was any way they could have convinced the departing employee to stay. And when employees are laid off, they may doubt their employer’s true motivations for letting them go.
An effective offboarding process minimises the possibility that misunderstandings will persist after the employee moves on. When you take the time to get a clear understanding of the employee’s experience, you and your employee can part ways with additional opportunities for networking, development, and growth.
Make Employee Offboarding Memorable
The most important aspect of a good employee offboarding process is to treat employees warmly, irrespective of the reason behind their departure. Celebrate their achievements and make them feel valued for their efforts. Additionally, a striking farewell will make employees speak positively about their experience and this will, in turn, increase your brand value as an employer.
Departing employees can provide honest feedback about the organization since they are no longer dependent on it for their livelihood. Once the issues are uncovered, organizations can look for a way to solve these problems and retain existing workers better. This collected information can help reduce attrition rates and rectify existing issues. For instance, former players such as Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are now important figures within the BCCI administrative setup, helping with the development of the sport.
Prevent Productivity Drops
When an employee leaves, day-to-day activities handled by him/her will be disrupted. As a result, there will be a considerable drop in productivity. It is vital to prevent this productivity drop by requesting outgoing employees to properly document their responsibilities, transfer process knowledge, and various ownership of resources. This is similar to a captain imparting his successor with the knowledge necessary to lead the team.
The complexities involved in offboarding make saying goodbye to employees a taxing affair. One wrong decision can stain your organization’s reputation and it might take years to repair the backlashes. Proper offboarding requires the right balance of sensitivity and tact. It can be the difference between the farewell that Ashish Nehra received, and the way Mohammed Kaif bid goodbye to the game.