As time changes, so does the behavior of employees. There was a time where employees would stick with a company for their entire career, but things are different now. The companies that flourish are the ones that capitalize on the benefits that our modern workplace has to offer and treat exiting employees like an opportunity. When an employee leaves, companies offer gracious goodbyes with the aim of building their alumni networks that help in networking, recruiting and new business tools.

Believe it or not, the last days of an employee can be just as important as their first. So, for your company to take advantage of the assets that your exiting employees can provide, companies have to have a thorough and gracious employee offboarding and exit checklist and process. This article will help you with just that.

The employee exit timeline

The exiting of an employee begins from the moment the employee gives their resignation letter and ends when they walk out of the door. Within this time, HR will have to lead the employee through the process that legally exits the employee from the company. HR would also have to collect all this employee’s institutional knowledge for whoever will be filling his shoes.

To help you go with the process smoothly, below is an outline of the complete process from the beginning to the end.

When you terminate employment or an employee quits voluntarily, here is what you must provide to the exiting employee:

Notices relating to applicable benefit plans and continuation, which also includes disability extension, and conversion coverage options under any employer-sponsored coverage like the Health Care Spending Account, Long-term and Short-term disability, life insurance, and 401(k) Account.

Health Insurance Premium Program (“HIPP”) Notice for Medi-Cal participants (California employers).

COBRA Notice of Qualifying Event and Election Form

  • Send this by ordinary U.S. Mail to the home address as it is the official method;
  • The best practice is to offer a courtesy copy to the employee by email or express mail;

It should be noted that many insurance carriers handle these notices. So, you can easily take help from anyone near you.

Final paycheck. This would include the following:

  • The unpaid but earned bonuses;
  • All accrued but unused vacation time or paid time off if needed by policy or state law; and
  • Any earned commissions – payout per commission plan schedule in most cases.

Some points that you need to look into and keep in mind for this include:

  • The deadline – the state law will dictate whether the payment has to be made on the next payday, termination date, or any other date (for example, within three days of termination);
  • Beware of special deductions or offsets from the final pay, or claw-backs of previous pay—get a legal review; and
  • HR will need to check the state law on whether the direct deposit authorization is okay for the final paycheck or not.

For terminations by the Company (not resignations), these additional documents must be provided:

  • California Employment Development Division (“EDD”) unemployment benefits booklet “For Your Benefit”
  • Notice of exact date of termination and exact date of benefits termination (New York) within 5 days of termination
  • Notice to Employee of Status Change (California)

For any termination (involuntary or quit), it is best practice—but not required—to give the employee the following:

  • An exit interview checklist reconfirming employee obligations to the Company; and
  • Any confidentiality or non-compete agreement signed by the exiting employee so that they can be reminded of the post-termination obligations.

Show the departing employee your gratitude

Nowadays, departing employees are a great asset to their former employers. Alumni networks serve as valuable recruiting and networking tools that can lead to your company’s next superstar performer. And former employees often return to the company as clients or boomerang employees with more acquired skills and insights. For these reasons, it’s imperative to say goodbye with gratitude. These small gestures pay dividends.

  • Organize a goodbye lunch or happy hour to celebrate the departing employee’s great work
  • Give the departing employee a going away gift if appropriate
  • Pass around a best wishes card, making sure his manager writes a thoughtful note

Conduct an exit interview

Exit interviews are considered as pure gold. It offers the departing employee with an open and non-judgemental space in which they can talk candidly about their experience at the company. Exit interviews give the companies with an invaluable insight into the employee morale, the processes that can help in improving things in the company and the company culture. HR can use this information to then offer strategic recommendations to senior leadership which would then put a positive change in the company.

So, it is important for companies to take advantage of this opportunity. And as the interview is taken, remember to keep the tone of the conversation light and celebratory. During the beginning of the interviews, ensure that you tell the leaving employees that everything the person says would be confidential and would not be associated with the person’s reputation or name anywhere.

To help you with this interview session, below are a list of exit interview questions that you can use to gain a proper insight from your departing employees. We have divided the questions in sections below:

Touch on the employee’s experience in their role and why this person is departing:

  • What did you like and dislike most about your role?
  • Would you consider coming back to work here in the future?
  • Did you feel you had the resources, tools, and working conditions to be successful in your role? If not, which areas could be improved in the company and how?
  • Why have you decided to move on?
  • What was the biggest factor that led you to accept your new job?

Discuss the employee’s overall impression of the company:

  • Is there anything you feel we should know or that you’d like to say?
  • Do you have any concerns about the company you’d like to share?
  • Do you think that the management adequately recognized all the employee’s contributions? If not, how do you think recognition could be improved?
  • Do you have any suggestions for improving employee morale in the company?
  • What do you feel the organization did well?
  • What can the company improve?
  • How would you describe the culture of our company?
  • If you could change anything about the role or company, what would you change?

Ask these questions and you will get the most honest feedback from the exiting employees. And with this, you will be able to make things much better in your company.

Wrap Up

It is important for you to remember that employee offboarding is not a permanent goodbye but a part of an ongoing relationship with a professional in the network of your company. And no one said that goodbyes have to be sad; so, have fun with it. And aim to treat the exiting employee with gratitude and respect.

And while you do this, if the employee was awarded with any equity compensation, remember to give what the person owns and update your cap table on Eqvista!

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