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Employee Offboarding Checklist: The Essential Guide for 2023 [+ Templates]

Employee Offboarding Checklist: The Essential Guide for 2023 [+ Templates]

Tango-branded colors backdrop with an illustration to describe an employee offboarding the company as the hero image.

People may leave your team for many reasons. It may be voluntary or involuntary, personal or professional. You may find out weeks in advance, or at the drop of a hat.

Whatever the reason, offboarding is an important—and often overlooked—part of the transition process. 

How you say goodbye to a departing employee says just as much about how you welcome a new team member to the fold. You never know if/when you’ll cross paths again…or when they may post a Glassdoor review. You may be focused on redistributing your departing team member’s workload or writing a job description for their backfill, but what’s just as important? Keeping their unique knowledge from walking out the door. Ensuring they feel valued, capturing their know-how, and setting up a system to transfer knowledge may take time, but will pay dividends when it comes to maintaining productivity. 

In this post, we'll be going over the most important items to include in your offboarding checklist:

  1. Communicate the departure
  2. Facilitate knowledge transfer
  3. Recover company assets
  4. Update system access
  5. Complete their final pay
  6. Hold an exit interview
  7. Provide exit documentation

There’s a lot here, so we created an offboarding checklist template to help you zip through the offboarding process. More on that below!

The seven steps of an offboarding checklist with tips of what to do and what not to do.

1. Communicate the departure

The first task on your offboarding checklist should be to communicate with your team about their teammate’s departure.

You don't want the news to come as a surprise—so the sooner you fill people in, the better. This gives everyone a chance to prepare themselves for any changes to the team's structure and tasks. 

Ask the leaving employee how they want you to deliver the news and if they're comfortable with you sharing more details about their departure—like reasons for leaving and future plans.

Then let the team know what the plan is. Do you plan to backfill the role? If yes, how quickly? Will you consider internal applicants? When will the job description go live? If not, how will the work be reallocated and absorbed? What are the most urgent jobs to be done? 

2. Facilitate knowledge transfer

Your departing team member knows their role better than anyone. Want to preserve what only they might know? Facilitate a knowledge transfer. 

Set up a handover meeting and ask them to share details like:

  • Their daily and weekly schedule
  • Ongoing tasks they own
  • Projects that need to be prioritized
  • Tools and resources they rely on
  • Who they collaborate with the most
  • How to conduct key processes
  • Tips and tricks learned on the job

Document all the meetings and training to have it ready for their replacement. Note: If your team documents processes regularly, then you're already one step ahead. 🏆

This step of the offboarding checklist is super important. Get the information you need before their last day, because you'll have a tough time getting it after that. 

💃 Let's Tango: Transfer knowledge in seconds
If you already have a strong culture of documentation, your team will be set up for success. If you don’t, we get it! Documenting processes manually is another full-time job.

Pro tip: You can easily accelerate knowledge transfer with Tango. All you have to do is click through your process on a website or software, and Tango will create a step-by-step guide on your behalf. It’s beautiful. It’s automatic. It’s all about the (perfectly cropped and annotated) screenshots. And it couldn’t be any easier to share.

Don't believe us? Check it out:

3. Recover company assets

It may be hard to believe, but it’s easy to forget to recover company assets when people leave the team. This can be a costly mistake.

Make sure you have a plan to recover your company's property. This includes everything from badges and uniforms to laptops, credit cards, and vehicles. If it belongs to your organization, make sure it's returned.

The easiest way to recover property is to make it someone's responsibility.

Ask an HR rep or an IT professional to make sure team members return assets. At the very least, keep a list of assets assigned to each team member and ask for them back before they go off to explore other opportunities.

4. Update system access

Another important step of the offboarding process is to revoke system access. Your company’s systems may contain sensitive information, and you probably don’t want everyone in the world to have access to it. 

Carefully scan your company's tech stack and revoke the leaving employee's access from every tool, including: 

  • Email platforms
  • Intranet solutions
  • CRM tools
  • Social media accounts
  • Content databases
  • Sales dashboards

You should also redirect emails from the exiting employee’s account so you don’t miss any important client or emails. 

Make sure you update the organization's chart after a teammate leaves. Once you fill the vacant role, revise it with the new hire's information. This will ensure internal communication doesn’t miss a beat.

While we're on the topic—we suggest updating all company materials that include the departing person's information (like your website and sales brochures), too. 

5. Issue their final pay

Send departing team members their final paycheck, then remove them from your company's payroll. You'd be surprised how easy it is to forget to do this step!

At this point, you should make sure their pay is correct and consider whether you need to pay reimbursements or account for holidays. 

6. Hold an exit interview

By now, you've handled most of the critical offboarding checklist items. So what's next? An exit interview!

Exit interviews allow you to learn what you're doing right and what processes you can improve

Ask a neutral party, like an HR rep, to host the interview. This will encourage the departing teammate to talk more freely, as they might not feel comfortable being critical of a former manager and/or colleagues. 

During the exit interview, you can ask questions such as:

  • What are some things we could do differently and why?
  • Did your position live up to your expectations?
  • How was your relationship with your manager?
  • How did you feel about your onboarding process?
  • What are some things we need to improve?

Listen to the feedback you receive. This isn't easy—nobody wants to hear about their shortcomings. But if you want to attract and retain future employees, you should invite people's opinions about your work, leadership style, and company culture.

You can also ask team members to answer an offboarding survey in addition to an in-person interview. This way, you'll have documented feedback to pass on to the leadership team for improvements. 

7. Provide exit documentation

The last step on your offboarding checklist is to provide the team member with exit documentation.

The kind of documentation you provide will depend on their departure circumstances and personal preferences. At the very least, expect to give them final pay details, a certificate of service, and agreed-upon contracts.

If you enjoyed working with them and they ask for a reference, we suggest paying it forward in this way, as it can help you part on good terms. 

You should also thank the leaving team member for their efforts. They've likely invested a lot of time and energy into your company, so let them know how much you appreciate their contributions.

Lastly, if they're leaving to accept a position at a different company, congratulate them on their new role! If it’s for a growth opportunity, feel good about the part you played in helping them get ready to spread their wings. 

Best practices when offboarding an employee

Whether this is your first time offboarding an employee or you've done it a couple of times, you’ll want to follow some best practices to leave a good last impression and send them off the way you welcomed them

Four tips to use when going over an offboarding checklist. 

When offboarding employees, here are some common best practices: 

  • Keep your offboarding checklist updated: Always reference your checklist and keep it updated to make sure the offboarding process is effective. 
  • Stay in touch: Connect on LinkedIn and leave the door open for future employment opportunities or employee recommendations. 
  • Designate offboarding personnel: Assign someone to be in charge of offboarding employees to make sure the process runs smoothly. 
  • Give them a memorable goodbye: Thank them for their work with a group card or a team lunch. 

These best practices will help your departing team member leave with positive feelings about a journey that helped them grow. 

To make things easier, use an employee offboarding checklist template to streamline the process and make sure everything's covered. 

Offboarding Checklist

The bottom line

There you have it: a complete offboarding checklist to make team departures just a little bit easier. 

Offboarding is essential to keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly. With the right tools, you can easily transfer knowledge so every train stays on track.


What is offboarding?

Offboarding is a formal process during which the company parts ways with one of its employees due to resignation, termination, or retirement.

Why is offboarding important?

Offboarding is important for both the team member leaving and your current team because it helps facilitate knowledge transfer and allows you to improve processes. And if done properly, it could even lead to future employee referrals.

How do I effectively offboard employees?

To effectively offboard employees, you should use an offboarding checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important tasks. In this checklist, you should include an exit interview, knowledge transfer, and recovery of company assets.

What should be included in an offboarding checklist?

Your offboarding checklist should include: 

  • Communicating the departure
  • Facilitating knowledge transfer
  • Recovering company assets
  • Updating system access
  • Issuing their final pay
  • Holding an exit interview
  • Providing exit documentation
What’s the difference between offboarding and onboarding?

Offboarding is the opposite of onboarding. Onboarding aims to welcome new team members and familiarize them with their new roles. Offboarding aims to give departing employees a smooth exit while preparing your company for future success.

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