30-Second Summary:

  • When an employee leaves your company, it is important you have a smooth exit process in place.

  • Employees leaving on good terms should know the door is always open for them to return.

  • Long-term employees hold a lot of company information. Keep it in-house with a transfer of knowledge.

  • Learn some of the best practices and protocols for offboarding employees.

  • Download an employee offboarding checklist, so you can quickly customize a template to meet your company’s needs.


In today’s hot job market, employees don’t remain at one company for long. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average tenure of the American worker is 4.1 years. Some of your employees will seek greener pastures no matter how excellent your company is. Handle their departure with grace and ease with our employee offboarding checklist.

Importance of an Employee Offboarding Checklist

When an employee parts ways with your company, a well-planned offboarding process will leave the exiting employee with a positive last impression. Checklists help ensure that essential tasks get done, while simultaneously reducing the chance that someone will drop the ball during the transition process. 

Streamline your employee offboarding process today by downloading our Employee Offboarding Checklist

Benefits of Using a Checklist for Offboarding Employees

Gain an Ambassador

You may lose an employee, but you could gain an ambassador when you use an easy and painless process. Employees who leave on good terms are great ambassadors for your company and can also be a reliable source for referrals. Happy ex-employees may also boomerang back to the company as a rehire.

Managers Feel Supported

Well-documented offboarding procedures take the guesswork out of the equation. A checklist initiated and managed by human resources relieves the stress from your manager and lets them focus on transferring duties to other team members. 

Protect Your Company

Protect yourself and your company from legal issues by ensuring compliance with state and federal employment guidelines and rules. Also, protect company assets with an organized collection of property.

Keep Up With Business as Usual

Avoid hiccups in day-to-day operations by avoiding hiccups in the exit process. Use the checklist and open communication for seamless handoffs, so you can keep business running as usual.

How to Use the Employee Offboarding Checklist

1. Meet With the Employee

If appropriate, this may be done by both the manager and HR personnel. The manager could have a more personal conversation and should always say, “Thank you for your work.” Let them know that the door is open for their return (if appropriate), and don’t pressure the employee or make them feel guilty for leaving; congratulate them instead. This conversation can help set the tone for the rest of the employee’s offboarding experience.

2. Get Paperwork in Order

Start immediately to make sure there is sufficient time to process everything. Get signatures on the official letter of resignation, health care benefit documents, tax forms, payroll forms, tax forms, and any non-disclosures or non-competes. (Develop a “paperwork checklist” specific to your business to ensure accuracy.) Route appropriate documents to payroll.

3. Communicate the Departure

Be proactive and prevent gossip by announcing the employee’s last day to their coworkers and other appropriate staff. You don’t want to catch anyone off guard when the employee leaves, and you never know who in the company may be interested in filling their shoes. 

4. Knowledge Transfer

Get a “brain dump” of the employee’s knowledge, including job duties, critical customer information, and status of current projects. If you have time, document processes. Collect any physical files and documents. Ideally, the staff member who will be taking over the exiting employee’s duties is involved.

5. Exit Interview

Schedule this as soon as the paperwork is signed. The HR team should conduct this so the departing employee is comfortable and feels safe speaking freely. Find out the good, the bad, and the ugly. The exit interview is an excellent time to uncover internal issues and to gain insight into differences in pay and company culture with competitors. 

6. Recover Company Assets

Work with the IT department to collect laptops, smartphones, access cards, badges, and other company property prior to the employee’s exit. Check with accounting for credit cards and expense accounts that should be closed. Both IT and accounting should manage separate office-appropriate offboarding checklists that can be utilized during this step of the process.

7. Revoke Digital Access for Security

On the employee’s last day, or as dictated by the security protocol, IT should revoke the employee’s access to the company’s systems and accounts. 

8. Wrap Up

It’s official; the employee has moved on. Communicate the employee’s departure to clients or other appropriate parties missed in the first round, redirect voice mails and emails, update the organizational chart, and confirm the former employee’s final paycheck. Make sure you have their new contact information readily available!

Tweak this offboarding checklist to meet your needs and ensure a smooth transition every time.

Sonary Can Help With All Your HR Needs 

Find information about employee onboarding, employee retention, boosting morale, new hires, and more.

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Sonary’s Employee Offboarding Checklist