Employee Offboarding Versus Employee AftercareUnderstanding the practical and personal sides of employee outgoings

Employee turnover has long been a fact of life in business, and recent global circumstances haven’t helped either.

In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, employee turnover in small businesses increased by 20%.

Even as things settle down and reopen, the world of business is not the same as before. Many people have re-evaluated their choices and almost half of employees who worked remotely won’t consider jobs that don’t offer options to work from home.

With Millennials up to 3 times more likely to change jobs than other employee demographics, businesses need to be prepared to handle employee turnover. Putting the right processes in place so that exits are smooth and positive experiences is imperative.

Employee offboarding and employee aftercare are two key aspects of this. This article is the first in a series on how you can make sure employees leave on good terms. will look at what each one entails and why they’re important.

We’ll follow up with two further pieces, one for each process, to talk you through how to perform each one effectively. Between them, these three posts will help you to maximise the chances that employees leave your business on good terms.

What is the difference between employee offboarding and employee aftercare?

Employee offboarding is a less common phrase than employee onboarding. But that doesn’t make it any less important.

Offboarding is mostly administrative and deals with the practicalities of employees leaving the business. It deals with equipment being returned, resources reallocated, and that the outgoing employee’s absence doesn’t suddenly cause issues as soon as they’re gone.

Employee aftercare is more concerned with the people side of employee exits. It aims to ensure that employees leave the business with a positive impression and that any future interactions with the employee, either directly or indirectly, aren’t damaging.

Even if an employee never directly crosses paths with a business again, they can do plenty of good, or harm, through how they talk about the business after leaving.

By creating offboarding and aftercare standards that work together, your employee exits are more likely to be smooth transitions that don’t harm the business in the immediate aftermath or further into the future.

What’s the point of employee offboarding?

Employee offboarding is a practical process. The logic for each aspect of it is typically clear. Why remove a former employee’s access to your company? Because they no longer need it, and it may even pose a security risk. Why get their equipment back from them? So it can be reused.

Despite how obvious many aspects of employee onboarding sound, there is still a lot to consider. For instance, a proper offboarding process will also help you understand the gap that the outbound employee is leaving in your organisation.

Getting this step right will help you ensure that your business isn’t losing valuable skills forever, and that any replacement has the best chance of getting up to speed quickly in their new role.

Why bother with employee aftercare?

Employee aftercare is the soft skills side of any employee departure. There are several reasons why it’s important to be sensitive to the feelings of outgoing employees.

The first is that employees can and do come back. 40% of employees would consider returning to a company at which they'd previously worked, showing that bridges left unburned can be reused.

This is especially true in shift-based industries like retail and hospitality, where seasonal work is more likely and people often pick up the same job across a longer time span as and when they need it.

Even if they don’t return to work at your business, they can still have an effect on it in the future. People talk. And word of mouth can be a hugely effective form of advertising—92% of people trust personal recommendations more than any other type of advertising.

Missing out on such a valuable source of leads, income, and even future employees could be catastrophic for a small business. Employees may be more likely to be honest, especially about negative opinions, once they no longer work for an employer. Don’t risk their wrath.

Departures can also affect remaining employees, particularly if the exit is acrimonious. If employees see one of their colleagues booted out the door with ill feeling, they may come to the conclusion that they are not valued either.

By understanding the importance of both employee offboarding and employee aftercare, you’ll be able to put appropriate efforts into improving these processes within your business.

The next posts, on employee offboarding and employee aftercare, will cover how to perform both of these steps effectively and reap the rewards.

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