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Checklist for Remote Offboarding During COVID-19

Checklist for Remote Offboarding During COVID-19

Normally, when an employee leaves an organization there’s an organized process that includes an exit interview, turning in parking passes and office keys, sometimes a goodbye lunch, and more. Ever since COVID-19 forced companies to operate remotely almost a year ago, offboarding looks a lot different.

Find out how to navigate the offboarding process when your team hasn’t been in the office.


Reminder: What is Offboarding?

The opposite of onboarding, offboarding is the process of separating an employee from the company permanently, whether the separation is voluntary or involuntary. During the offboarding process, employees might transfer job responsibilities and wrap up final projects if time allows, especially if the employee is planning to retire. Other offboarding steps include gathering information and technology.

If the plans for the employee to separate are due to an involuntary termination of employment, then the offboarding process might be quicker and include just the process of turning in equipment like company phones and computers, key badges, and other housekeeping items.

Issues with Offboarding During COVID-19

Offboarding processes must be adapted if employees are departing from the company while not in the office. The following are possible issues for remote offboarding:

  1. Confusion around logistics: Since HR teams and direct managers all have more on their plates than usual, it’s important to have written documentation on offboarding logistics during COVID-19. For example, who is collecting their tech equipment and how? Who is responsible for sending the separation letter? Is the employee meeting with the manager over video call to go over details of offboarding? Organizations should have written documentation on offboarding during COVID-19 so that managers know what steps to follow and everyone is on the same page.
  2. Returning equipment: It’s important to have a plan in place for employees to return their equipment, like company laptops, monitors, and other tech items. This also goes for other company property they may have checked out or borrowed, including office chairs, standing desks, and more. If the employee is leaving the company before the office will reopen, see if the organization can grant access to the building to safely return the equipment. If that’s not possible, see if there’s a manager or team member who can accept the tech items at their residence and hold onto them until the office opens. Companies can also provide a return label to the employee so that they can return smaller tech items like laptops. 
  3. Collecting termination documentation: When an employee tells a manager they are resigning, be sure to collect whatever documentation your organization needs. If your organization requires more formal notice, be sure the employee knows that.For some, a quick note through email will be sufficient. For example, the employee who is leaving can write a note through email—that serves as their resignation letter—to this effect:
    “I, [Employee Name], resign from my position at [company] effective [last day of work].”

Checklist for Offboarding During COVID-19

Refer to this checklist and keep a record of the necessary items to get done when offboarding employees to make sure you don’t miss any steps or leave anything up-in-the-air. Be sure to keep the checklist and update it with dates and signatures when tasks are completed in case you need to refer to the offboarding records later. 

  1. Have the employee submit a resignation notice to their direct manager and HR team, who will then begin the termination process
  2. Create and send a separation letter, which should include the following information:
    • Last payment communication
    • Benefits and insurance communication
    • Returning equipment logistics 
    • Contact information for questions
  3. Add necessary information to ensure the employee is removed from payroll in a timely manner and that they receive all necessary payment
  4. Email team member in charge of the company website about the termination so they can update the website’s “Team” page
  5. Reset email password, set up forwarding email to manager, and remove from email groups and share drive access (if applicable)
  6. Terminate/update employment status in the company’s HRIS
  7. Deactivate, disable, and remove any accounts, if applicable. For example:
    • Internal social media accounts
    • Phone accounts
    • Expense accounts
  8. Revoke access to any additional internal documents 
  9. Remove or revoke employee building access (key fob, key, or building passcode) 
  10. Reset computer and ensure its prepared for new team members

HR's Innovative Strategies for Employee Retention

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