How technology can help as businesses face the offboarding challenge

As the end of furlough and other Covid support schemes inevitably come closer, redundancies could be on the horizon. Duncan Casemore highlights the role technology can play in ensuring the offboarding experience is well organised and communicated.

“The end is just as important as the beginning” – a phrase we don’t normally apply to the employee lifecycle.

When it comes to employee experiences, organisations have traditionally put a lot of emphasis on ensuring a new starter has a smooth and positive onboarding experience. But the offboarding process doesn’t always get the same level of planning and consideration.

With companies facing a season of mass redundancies due to the pandemic, and think tank Bright Blue suggesting that 44% of organisations with staff on furlough will have to let some or all go once the scheme ends, it is now more important than ever that employee offboarding is given the same level of care, and conducted a meaningful and respectful way.

A positive farewell

Glassdoor research has shown that 70% of candidates look at company reviews before making a decision to apply for a new role. As such, positive employee feedback is of critical importance. Even the best offboarding process alone will not always lead to positive outcomes, but it can go a long way in rounding off an employee’s time within an organisation and acknowledging the value they brought during their tenure.

HR departments, however, who have focused their attention on onboarding and employee retention, often have poor offboarding processes in place, putting them on the backfoot when an employee does decide to leave an organisation and souring the exit process. Urgent change is required to bring employee offboarding technologies and best practice into the spotlight.

The role of technology

Using a consistent HR platform from start to finish is the best way to make sure it is easy for employees and HR departments to take care of all of the tasks associated with offboarding. This lessens the burden of offboarding paperwork on employees, making everything accessible, transparent and ultimately freeing up HR to spend more time on the human parts of the process.

HR technology can help to create clarity around the steps involved in offboarding. When an employee decides to leave a company, they often do not have foresight of the steps and processes involved; from alerting HR, to disenrolling in benefits. It is important that employees are guided through the steps to correctly and efficiently leave an organisation, just as easily as when they joined.

Technology can also go a long way in automating many of the admin tasks. For example, a workforce experience layer could be used to disseminate duplicate information between departments. This could entail a manager filling out a form that notifies both HR and payroll about the staff member’s last day, notice period and whether this role requires a replacement or not. This can also trigger tasks to team members around the business that will instigate the offboarding process.

Having the right HR tech infrastructure in place means that these tasks are completed correctly, assigned to the right people and finished within the required timescale.

A thought-out digital dashboard or portal can give remote employees who are leaving your organisation visibility on the stages involved in the transition. This could include guides for returning equipment, best practice for virtually handing off responsibilities, and more.

Ultimately, HR and IT must collaborate on the best way to tackle the challenges that remote offboarding creates in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Ultimately, HR and IT must collaborate on the best way to tackle the challenges that remote offboarding creates in order to stay ahead of the curve.”

Exit interviews

Tech that supports and leverages data gathered during exit interviews is also key to a smooth offboarding process. Even if done remotely, exit interviews offer valuable insight.

Using this feedback can help to inform gaps in the employee experience and highlight improvements for the future. It can also help celebrate what the employee has achieved during their time in your organisation and ensure management remains positive during this process.

A company’s onboarding strategy puts employees front and centre, and this same philosophy should be applied to the offboarding process. Employees deserve consumer-grade experiences and technology at every stage of their employment lifecycle and this includes offboarding. Having clear communication of the offboarding steps means that employees will leave feeling informed and prepared for the end of their role. Because the end, really is, just as important as the beginning.

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