Employee Offboarding Process: Checklist and Tips

Create a smooth offboarding experience and safeguard your organization against security risks and lawsuits.

Much has been written about employee onboarding, yet employee offboarding is an equally important topic for effective human resource management.

Employee turnover is inevitable – studies show that 50% of employees voluntarily leave in the first two years of employment. Whether the employee is leaving voluntarily or is terminated, it's important to make sure this transition happens smoothly.

Let's dive deeper into what employee offboarding is and how you can make it go smoothly.

What is employee offboarding?

Employee offboarding is the process during which an organization parts ways with an employee following their resignation, retirement, or termination. The offboarding process of an employee usually involves:

Here's an example of what an employee offboarding checklist looks like in Nuclino, a unified workspace where teams can bring all their knowledge, docs, and projects together:

Employee offboarding checklist example in Nuclino

Why every company needs an offboarding process

Offboarding an employee may seem like a trivial task, but that's rarely the case. Without a clear offboaring process in place, it’s easy for important steps to fall through the cracks, resulting in security risks, lawsuits, and damage to the brand reputation.

And when problems occur, they can be costly – for example, during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the University of Wisconsin System mistakenly paid $8 million in health insurance premiums and pension contributions for more than 900 employees who had already left their jobs.

A clearly structured offboarding process helps companies:

Employee offboarding checklist

When it comes to offboarding employees, the most powerful tool at your disposal is a simple one – a checklist.

Here's an example of what an employee offboarding checklist could look like:

Employee offboarding checklist

The offboarding checklist details all of the necessary tasks that need to be completed when an employee leaves the company. The checklist format allows team managers and the HR team to see at a glance which activities have been finished and which are still outstanding.

An employee offboarding checklist can take many forms, but it usually covers the following topics.

Knowledge transfer

When employees leave, they take their skills and know-how with them. Start the knowledge transfer process early – ideally, as soon as an employee gives their notice. Ask them to document as much information as they can about their responsibilities: their tools and workflows, important contacts, the status of unfinished tasks, and so on.

The ideal place for this information is a knowledge management system, such as your internal wiki or knowledge base. If your company doesn't have a corporate wiki yet, you can easily create one in Nuclino.

IT permissions and access

Work with the IT department to make sure the employee's accounts are closed at the right time. Many companies end up revoking their employee's access too early, adding chaos to the employee's last days on the job, or forget to revoke it altogether.


Next is that necessary evil known as paperwork. It may be tedious, but having an audit trail protects both the employee and the employer in the event of legal issues.

The exact list of documents you need to prepare usually depends on the type of business you are running, as well as the local legal requirements. It usually includes a letter of resignation, non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, and documents related to various benefits.

Asset recovery

Ensure that the departing employee returns any company property that may be in their possession before their leave date. This is a fairly straightforward (yet often neglected) task. Make sure the employee is aware of what they have to return (e.g. company laptop) and what they may keep (e.g. branded stationery).

Exit interview

Exit interviews have the potential to provide incredibly valuable insights into an organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Here are some questions you should ask employees in an exit interview:

Some organizations tend to neglect the offboarding process and focus on what they see as more value-adding activities relating to current employees.

But it's important to remember that employee offboarding is about far more than paperwork. A comprehensive offboarding process can safeguard you against security risks and lawsuits, while giving the departing employee a pleasant exit experience and a lasting positive impression on your company.

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