This section discusses the process and procedures related to when an employee decides to end their employment with your organization. Unlike in a termination where the employee may or may not have notice in advance of their departure, employee-initiated resignations or retirements mean the organization has time to prepare and ensure a smooth transition of information, projects and relationships. This process of ensuring a smooth transition, organizational stability and supporting the final stage of an employee’s life cycle is called offboarding.
Offboarding leads to the formal separation between an employee and employer, and involves not only exit interviews and feedback opportunities - which are discussed below - but also transferring the employee’s workload while you hire their replacement; initiating final pay and payouts (e.g., vacation, benefits, overtime); turning in equipment, tools and keys; deactivating access rights and passwords; etc.
With both onboarding and offboarding, the more time and care you take with these processes, the better experience your employees will have. Departing employees do not want to end their last day feeling unappreciated, nor do they want to receive an email two weeks later asking for their office keys. An effective offboarding process supports the organization’s reputation, improves your employee’s working experience, and helps build advocates for the organization.
This section reviews some of the key steps to supporting an employee and your organization through the end of employment.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult your Engagement Partner.
TYPES OF REASONS
RESIGNATION OR RETIREMENT
- Employees must submit an Employee Resignation & Retirement Confirmation Letter indicating their proposed last date of work.
- Encourage the employee to set up a meeting with their supervisor to discuss their intentions and collectively determine a last date recognizing that employees are protected by employment standards and are entitled to give only the minimum notice.
FUNDING CAME TO AN END / ROLE NO LONGER NEEDED
- Give written notice to the employee when their employment is coming to end either due to a lack of funding and/or a change in organizational need.
- Follow the notice requirements in accordance with the Employment Standards Act. Using the same template for a not for cause termination, you can outline the terms of the termination, end date of employee agreement and whether the employee is being given a working notice or pay in lieu of notice (severance).
- For more information on terminations not for cause, see the Discipline & Termination section.
- Even when an employee has a term appointment and they know when their employment agreement will end, meet with them in advance and give them a written “without cause” termination letter indicating their last day.
TERMINATION WITH CAUSE / WITHOUT CAUSE
- Follow the procedures for termination with or without cause as per the Discipline & Termination section.
- Terminations with or without cause sometimes do not allow for managers to have a lot of transition time to complete the offboarding process. In these instances, managers will need to be organized and complete the off-boarding checklists without the participation and/or cooperation of the employee.
ADMINISTRATIVE & OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
- Work with the departing employee to initiate offboarding procedures to ensure a smooth transition for both the employee and organization.
- Arrange a meeting to ensure the departing employee understands the final terms of their employment and that administrative and operational loose ends are addressed. Use the Ending Employment Checklist to guide the discussion between the departing employee and their manager.
- Support employee in preparations to leave their position and initiate key activities to ensure a smooth transition.
- Use the Internal Ending Employment Checklist to guide this process. Key steps include:
- Transferring the employee’s workload
- Initiating final pay and payouts (e.g., vacation, benefits, overtime)
- Submitting a Record of Employment (ROE)
- Turning in equipment, tools and keys
- Deactivating access rights, passwords, etc.
- Sending out communications regarding the change in staffing to internal and external stakeholders
- Conducting an exit interview
- In advance of an employee’s departure, they should be asked to prepare a transition document that outlines key information that will support the next person in the role. Elements to include in the transition document are:
- Project descriptions and status reports
- Key contact information
- Password information
- Description of filing system
- Calendar of upcoming events and deadlines
- The employee and their supervisor should review this document, in advance of the employee’s departure, to allow an opportunity to ask questions and seek further clarification.
- Offering employees the opportunity to have an exit interview is part of organizational best practice. Employees are the main drivers of organizational success, so it is important to learn from them - why they stay, why they leave, what changes need to be made - to continue to grow.
- Below are five (5) main objectives of an exit interview:
- Uncover issues relating to HR
- Understand employee’s perception of the work
- Gain insight into managers’ leadership styles and effectiveness
- Foster innovation by asking about areas for improvement
- Create lifelong advocates for the organization
- To conduct an exit interview:
- Identify a neutral person to lead the meeting with the employee. Ideally the exit interview will be led by someone like an HR Manager or the senior leader at a partnering MSA.
- Ask if the employee would like to have the exit interview conducted in person, over the phone or via email.
- If the employee would prefer to do it via email, you can send the list of questions to the employee for them to fill out and return.
- The person conducting the exit interview will be responsible for identifying key themes that were revealed through the interview, protecting the interests of the departing employee and following up on any matters that were significant and may require investigation.