How to offboard an employee

by Productivity

In the last month, I've had to offboard two employees at Rader Co. Our marketing specialist, Andrea, received a great position, and I was more than happy to support her. The other was Rea, our Support Specialist that I have had for seven years. It was TOUGH. We've grown the business together, and it's taken a year for me to let her go. 

You know when you get too comfortable with people, you sometimes have bad habits, or they see a side of you that you wouldn't show to people you are less familiar with? I call that the no-makeup face. It's the face only your immediate family, spouse, or partner often sees. Well, Rea and I showed each other our no-makeup faces, literally and figuratively, too many times. She had mastered her skill set at our company, and I needed someone who had worked with more prominent companies in the role.

We parted very amicably, with tears and virtual hugs, but have created something even better. I am helping Rea set up her own business and will act as a business mentor. She will continue to make any website updates (my beautiful sites are her handiwork) and a few other tasks.

The offboarding experience was quick, just two days. It could have been longer, but I didn't want it to be awkward for Rea to stick around. It wasn't seamless because she held the keys to 80% of the doors in the castle, but we managed it so well, I knew I had to share it with others. This is unique to our situation, but maybe something below that you're missing could be included in your process.

Keys to our successful offboarding

  • We use the ClickUp project management system*, and every task we do is in there. We rarely communicate via email. The history of any task is there for all to see, including the new person. I quickly transferred Andrea and Rea's tasks to other team members – click, click, click. 
  • We have a library of How-Tos for new staff. Everything we do is written in a process, and many have very short Loom or ClickUp videos to accompany them. There were only a few missing, and both of them recorded videos before they left.
  • We practiced Role Reversals earlier in the year to ensure that someone other than the primary owner of the task would know how to do it.
  • We use Dashlane Password Management*, so I could revoke all of Andrea's passwords with two clicks. I still wanted Rea to have some access, so I could withdraw the ones she no longer needed in less than 40 seconds (I timed it for this article). Rea had limited or full access to over 75 programs and applications. I didn't worry about her stealing or doing anything harmful. Still, it is imperative to have someone quit or let them go to immediately revoke their access to everything.
  • Since we use Google Workspace, I simply transferred the support@helloraderco.com email address to a different team member, so no one received bounce backs, and they could continue her work.
  • Lastly, I have a checklist template in ClickUp* to offboard an employee to ensure we don't miss anything. 

Creating a process before you have to do it will save you time and stress during a period of headaches and/or heartaches. If you don't already have the steps in place to offboard an employee, put it on your calendar to create one soon, or reach out and schedule a Discovery Call to see if we can help.

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jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects