23rd January 2024
Uncover the Power of Employee Offboarding
A nationwide study of personal care workers’ employment intentions and employee turnover conducted by Deakin University, delved into the experiences of current and former personal care workers in residential aged care, revealing absences of an employee ‘offboarding’ process.
Offboarding is the systematic and formalised process which an oganisation follows when an employee leaves, whether due to resignation, retirement, termination, or any other reason. Your workforce, your most valuable asset, provides departing employees the opportunity to candidly express their perspectives on the positive and negative aspects of their employment, ultimately providing them with a sense of acknowledgement, and subsequently implementing deliberate measures that advance organisational excellence.
During the offboarding process, aged care operators undertake several tasks including:
- Conducting exit interviews to gather feedback
- Collecting equipment owned by the organisation provided to the employee to conduct their role e.g. company phone or laptop
- Transferring employee job responsibilities
- Deactivating access rights and passwords
- Finalising administrative tasks
While scholarly research and industry focus traditionally centers on attraction, recruitment, onboarding, employment intentions, turnover, and retention, there exists a notable oversight regarding employee offboarding. Aged care operators and executives are currently allocating significant resources, time, and effort into recruitment and onboarding, but some appear to be misdirecting their energy and resources. As important as onboarding is for aged care operators and executives, offboarding requires the same level of energy and returns valuable data to support other HR practices in the organisation. But where do you start?
For aged care operators and executives who may not have an offboarding process, the first step involves scrutinising your existing HR processes, and, if necessary, developing policies, procedures and templates to guide and support your offboarding process. An effective offboarding process contributes to:
- Organisational culture: the treatment of departing employees serves as a reflection of the overall culture of the organisation, exerting influence on employee morale and engagement. Remember other employees are watching and listening and are affected by how their friends and colleagues are treated
- Knowledge retention: a systematically structured offboarding process ensures the seamless transfer of departing employee’s knowledge and expertise to remaining team members, safeguarding critical organisational knowledge
- Smooth transition: an organised offboarding process facilities a smoother transition for both the departing employee and the team, minimising disruptions and enabling the seamless handover of responsibilities, enhancing operational continuity
- Positive reputation: treating departing employees with respect and ensuring a positive offboarding experience contributes significantly to the organisation’s reputation. Former employees departing on good terms are more inclined to speak favorably about the organisation, enhancing its brand and attractiveness to potential talent
- Alumni network: fostering positive relationships with former employees can lead to the establishment of an alumni network, wherein former employees becoming valuable assets
- Legal compliance: a structured offboarding process ensures aged care operators adhere to the legal obligations
- Cost savings: an effective offboarding process yields cost savings by minimising expenditure related to recruitment, onboarding, training and costs associated with employee turnover
- Succession planning: when executed strategically, offboarding contributes to an organisation’s succession planning efforts by identifying potential successors and preparing them for new responsibilities
- Continuity of care: a well-structured offboarding process ensures that care remains a top priority during periods of employee changes, ensuring the uninterrupted provision of care for residents and support for their families
To find out more or to be involved in the nationwide study of personal care workers employment and/or to seek assistance in reviewing your offboarding process, please contact Britt O’Keefe.
Britt O’Keefe is Anchor Excellence’s Specialist Advisor and a PhD Candidate at Deakin University.