Give A Grad A Go’s Guide to Onboarding and Offboarding Employees

29 October 2020

Onboarding and offboarding are two crucial processes every employer should be following to ensure employees are both integrated into a company successfully and leave on the best terms with an efficient handover strategy in place.

In the current climate with many employees joining companies virtually, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re giving your employees the best introduction and clear training to your business. In contrast, with many businesses having to make redundancies, it’s equally as important to give your departing employees as much guidance and support possible as they leave your company.

To ensure you’re following the correct steps and aren’t neglecting any areas in both your company onboarding and offboarding strategies, we’ve put together our complete guide to onboarding and offboarding employees.

Give A Grad A Go’s step-by-step employee onboarding process

The benefits of an effective onboarding process:

A clear onboarding process is mutually beneficial, with 22% of employee turnover happening in the first 45 days of employment, a well-structured employee onboarding process in place can help your candidates feel settled in their role and help you to retain your new hires – saving you money and time in the long run.

An effective employee onboarding process also means that expectations between yourself and your employees are aligned, employees are aware of their goals, the cultural aspects of the business and what good performance looks like from the outset. All helping to maximise productivity and results and help you get the most out of your new hires.

With multiple benefits to your business, here’s how to implement an effective and well-structured employee onboarding process, to help your new hires feel settled in to your organisation, both in person and virtually.

  • Initial post-offer preparation

Before the candidate officially joins your company, send out offer letters, contracts andwelcome packs. Keep your new hires in the loop about how often they can expect to hear from you in the time before they start, and include them in company-wide emails. This is a great way to make them feel involved before they’ve even started and excited about joining the company.

  • Organise technology and workplace settings

During the week leading up to their start date, make sure to set up new starter email addresses and user logins. If your new hire will be onboarded virtually, arrange a call with them to find out what equipment they have to work from home and if they need any additional IT equipment. Be sure to also let new hires know any software they need to download before they start. Organising IT logistics and equipment ensures your new starters are all ready to go on their first day.

If your employee is joining your office, make sure you have your employee’s desk set upand ready for them. Ensure their workplace is how you would want to find your own - clean and tidy and fully stocked with notebooks, pens and anything else they need.

  • Introductory first day

On their first day, have a member of staff, either their manager or a member of the HR team introduce your new hire to the team and take them on a tour of the office, building and surrounding area. This is a nice way to ease them into their first day and show them where relevant places are such as the toilet, kitchen and building entrances and exits.

Arranging brief induction sessions with members of your team will help a new starter settle in, get to know others and what their roles are within the business. If your new starter is joining virtually, arrange video calls for your new starter to meet other members of the team. It’s a good idea to spread these calls out over the course of their first week and not to have calls with too many attendees. A first week at a company can be intense and nerve-wracking, so a zoom call with 30+ people is likely to be very overwhelming for your new hire.

Have your new employee’s manager explain what will be happening on their first day, and what they can expect from their first week. Give your new employee a few simple tasks to carry out throughout the day, such as getting used to a system, don’t bombard an employee with loads of information, but show them one or two things.

It’s a nice touch to take your new starter out for lunch, for a post-work drink, or virtual drinks, this is a great way for them to get to know other members of staff and to show how much you value them from the start.

  • Have a well-planned first week agenda

In their first week, create a clear and structured agenda for your new hire. If they are training, sitting in meetings, or working on projects, tell them when, where, and what they should bring to each one. Then, encourage them to sit down with their line manager or supervisor to discuss their goals, ambitions and where they see the role developing.

It’s important to make sure your new starter isn’t just there refreshing their inbox, looking for things to do. Structure each hour of their day in their first week, making sure to not give them too much work so they feel over-whelmed, but enough that they are engaged in their work and the role and excited to learn more. Use the week to build up their knowledge and skills and towards the end of their first week, get them to work on more meaningful tasks with other team members. This will give them great insight into what the role is going to involve and give them some responsibility.

A well-planned first week is crucial to helping a new starter enjoy their new role and company, all helping to retain your new hires. Visit our blog for more employee retention strategies and how to retain staff.

  • Implement a workplace mentoring scheme 

Implementing an employee mentoring scheme during your new starter’s first month is a great way to help them feel supported from day one and able to share their concerns. Assign a member of your team who’ll act as your new recruit's mentor - ideally someone who has been at the company long enough to be able to answer questions, but also someone who hasn’t been at the company too long - so they can empathise with them as a new employee.

Joining a company virtually can be a daunting experience, having to meet new people through a screen and spending days working alone. Assigning new starters a mentor is a good way to keep an eye on them, check in with how their feeling and monitor their mental wellbeing. For a guide to mental, physical and social wellbeing in the workplace and how to improve employees’ mental health virtually, visit our blog.

A mentoring scheme is also a great way to increase the skills of your current employees and show you value them to take on more responsibility. Find out how to implement a mentoring scheme at your company and more of the benefits of a workplace mentoring program for employers.

  • Hold first month reviews

At the end of their first month, organise a check-in to ensure your new starter is enjoying their new role. The check-in could either be with a member of the HR team, their line manager, a team lead, or their mentor. Make sure to use this time to listen to your new hires, as their feedback they give can provide a real insight into your company culture, onboarding process and management styles. This is also a great opportunity for a new starter to let you know if the role isn’t for them, instead of waiting a couple of months down the line, costing you time and energy in training them.

Ask new starters to evaluate their onboarding experience: What was useful? What might need more clarification or attention? Is your buddy system working? Did they feel their induction was thorough enough? What new skills have they learnt so far? How could you improve the on-boarding of future hires? Their evaluation and listening to your new starters will help you improve your onboarding process for the future, as well as finding out how to keep your new hires happy as they grow with your company. Check out our blog for what else makes graduates happy at work.

  • Continuous support

The best onboarding processes are the ones which are continuous and supportive throughout the entire employee journey. Moving forward, you can retain your new hires by providing ongoing support, scheduling regular reviews and catch-ups, providing clear and constructive feedback, running through their achievements to date and setting some objectives in place so they have clear goals to work towards.

Think about opportunities for growth and development, rewards and salary reviews, further mentoring schemes and company-wide perks. From the moment a candidate accepts their offer, to your new hire's first day, week, month and year, the onboarding process is a vital part of graduate recruitment - the key to ensuring that they integrate in to your business seamlessly and effectively.

Continuous support and check ins are especially important for your remote employees, to help them feel connected with their team and ensure their happiness and success from home. Visit our blogs for more virtual training tips for businesses and how to manage remote teams.

Implement our step-by-step employee onboarding process to boost your new starter satisfaction, get the most out of your new hires and increase your employee retention. If you’re looking to make new hires for your business, get in touch today to find out more about our hiring and virtual hiring services.

Give A Grad A Go’s step-by-step employee offboarding process

The benefits of an effective offboarding process

The right employee offboarding process is equally as important as the onboarding, allowing you to establish good lasting relationships with your employees, gain honest and valuable feedback and support them as much as possible as they depart.

Whether it was a personal decision to leave, or an employee is made redundant, leaving a job is tough and can have huge strains on an employee’s wellbeing. The offboarding process is a great way to provide your employees with resources and helpful information to support them through this period. If you need extra support as your business makes redundancies, you may benefit from our outplacement services. Our experienced Head of People Operations, Claire Donaldson, will work alongside your employees to ensure that they receive practical, tailored and independent advice to give them the confidence and motivation to tackle a difficult job market.

If your business has made redundancies or is planning on, or you have employees resigning, we’ve put together our complete offboarding guide so you can efficiently manage an employee’s departure, stress-free:

1. Communicate the departure to the company

To put the departing employee at ease and to be transparent with the rest of your employees, it’s important to quickly let your team know that an employee is moving on. Whilst there can be a temptation to hold off communicating the change, the longer you wait, rumours may start disrupting your workplace.
The most important people to inform first are the employee’s manager, direct team, along with HR, payroll and IT who can then begin their own offboarding processes. Then be sure to let the rest of the company know and any clients they were primarily working with.

To make the employee feel comfortable, it’s best to inform the news to small groups of teams rather than a whole company announcement where the departing employee will be present. You can communicate the departure in an email or with a quick announcement. Whichever you choose, be sure to let everyone know the employee who is leaving, if appropriate mention why they’re moving on and be sure to wish the employee well. If you already know who will be taking over their responsibilities be sure to also include this.

 2. Send the relevant documents to the departing employee.

The next important step is to organise your paperwork and send relevant documents to ensure an employee’s departure is official and logged. Here are some of the important documents to send an employee:

• P45 and final payslip. When an employee leaves you need to provide them with both a P45 and a final payslip. An employee will need to provide a new employer with their P45 to inform them of their tax code and a final payslip needs to be retained for the employee’s own records

• Nondisclosure and non-compete agreements. If applicable, it’s important to issue an employee an NDA which places a legal obligation on the employee to keep your confidential information secret after they leave the company

• Issue a letter explaining any banked employment benefits, such as pension savings or shares in the company

• If an employee has resigned, you will need to issue them a formal letter confirming their last day of service and accepting their resignation. In this letter clarify if there’s any untaken excess holiday entitlement, any company property owed, outstanding loans and any training fees that are recoverable

• If you’re making staff redundant you need to first follow the legal redundancy process, ACAS has useful guidance and includes all the factors to take into account. You then need to issue a formal letter of termination, confirming their last day of service and depending on their service you may need to issue redundancy pay – ACAS website has a useful employee redundancy pay calculator.

3. Organise an effective handover

When an employee leaves, they take their skills, knowledge and specialism in the role with them. It’s important to harness this knowledge so it can be passed onto existing members of the team or a new employee taking over their role and they can successfully pick up where the employee left.To best make use of the time you have with the employee, it’s important to decide what needs to be achieved in the time frame you have left and make a plan of action for a handover and training. Here are some useful steps to follow:

• Ask the departing employee to create a document breaking down their role, from their daily routine, projects they repeat on a monthly, quarterly, yearly basis, any systems or files they use, regular contacts, existing projects and what takes priority in their role. Organise for the employee to then go through this document with their manager so they can work together to create a plan of action and clearly assess what is important to have documented and other employees trained in.

• When an employee leaves you need to decide who will be taking over their role. Will it be split up amongst current employees, will a current employee be promoted to this role or will a new hire be taking over this position? Once you have a clear assessment of who will be taking over the role you can then decide the best handover practice

• An important factor when asking an employee to create a handover document and to train a new employee is to make sure they have the time to ensure the knowledge transfer is achieved well. If a senior member of staff is leaving or niche and technical roles are being passed over, creating a guide and training someone in the role can take time. Make sure that an employee’s current work is reassigned to capable members of staff during their leave period to allow time for all training, documents and processes to be carried out and passed on thoroughly. Once an employee leaves they will not appreciate being contacted about questions regarding their role, so it’s crucial to get the most from your employee whilst they are still working. 

4. Assess if there’s a need to rehire

If an employee has been made redundant, it’s most likely due to there being a lack of work and the company cannot afford to keep that employee on, therefore there’s a small chance the company will need to rehire.However, if an employee has resigned it’s important to think about who will be taking over their role. Consider if a current employee can be promoted to this role or if there is a need to recruit new employees.Getting the recruitment process underway will help if there isn’t the staff to temporarily cover the role, along with making the handover process easier if the departing employee and new hire are with the company at the same time.

If you’re looking to re-hire for a role, get in touch and find out about our Recruitment Services today to see how we can quickly and smoothly help you hire candidates who are the perfect match for your role and company. Check out our latest blog post for the ways we can help you find talent

5. Perform an exit interview and ask useful questions.

An important part of your exit management policy is to carry out an exit interview. Holding an exit interview with the departing employee is a great way to gather feedback about the company and discover any unknown underlying issues. Here are some good points to consider when holding an exit interview, along with some example questions to ask the employee:

• It’s good practice to give the departing employee the choice between a face-to-face interview or a questionnaire. An employee shouldn’t be forced to participate in a face-to-face meeting if they don’t want to, and you may find through taking a questionnaire employees give more honest feedback.

• If an employee is taking part in a face-to-face exit interview, consider who is the most appropriate person to hold the interview. For example, if an employee is leaving because there was friction between themselves and their manager, this isn’t going to be the best person. Choose an employee who the departing employee gets along well with and is likely to gain the most useful and insightful information from them.

• If you’re working remotely, the offboarding process is still important. Be sure to organise an exit interview over video.Example exit interview questions:

• Is there any reason in particular that you are leaving the company?

• What made you decide to start looking for a job?

• What are your reasons for accepting the new position?

• Was there anything that prevented you from carrying out your job effectively?

• What could we have provided to mitigate those problems?

• Do you feel like you were managed effectively?

• What is the biggest thing, in your opinion, that we need to improve on as a company?

• What do you think we are doing well? / What did you enjoy about working here?

• How would you describe our corporate culture?

• What could have been done for you to stay at the company?

Asking these questions may help uncover any underlying issue for the company, from problems with company culture to lack of management and views on employee training. It’s also important to ask questions about any of the company’s positive aspects, to avoid the exit interview having a completely negative tone.

If an employee mentions they are leaving the company due to a higher salary or better benefits scheme at another company in a comparable role, ask if they are willing to share their new salary and benefits. This will help you adjust your salary and benefit benchmark to meet other companies’ and prevent other employees leaving for the same reason.

If you need help setting salaries for your roles, check out our graduate employment statistics for an insight into the graduate recruitment industry and a breakdown of average starting salaries for a range of graduate roles.

6. Recover any company assets

For security and financial reasons, it’s important to recover any company assets from an employee before they leave. Politely ask the employee to give in any company issued devices such as phones, laptops, tablets, ID badges and keys. If they are working remotely and can’t make it into the office to return their equipment, it’s a good idea to send a courier to collect these assets.

It’s also important to close any corporate credit cards or expense accounts in that employee’s name and process any fees or reimbursements. It may be useful to set up an offboarding software or spreadsheet, where you can easily log which items have been returned from an employee.If an employee is leaving on bad terms with the company, it’s even more important to ensure you have recovered all important devices and that the employee cannot access the company building, for your own peace of mind and safety of the company. 

7. Revoke system access and benefits

As soon as an employee leaves it’s crucial that they are logged off and denied access to any systems to safeguard the company and its data. Make sure that your IT department is notified by HR about an employee departing so they can complete their system offboarding checklists. They will need to disable all network access, disable remote access and email accounts, making sure shared and single passwords are changed.

Phone calls and emails should also be forwarded to the employee’s supervisor or the employee taking over their responsibilities. As part of your payroll leaver actions, it’s important that departing employees access is removed from any schemes such as healthcare, benefits and resolve any outstanding loans.

 8. Thank the employee for their contributions

However long or short an employee is at a company, it’s nice to thank them for their contributions to the business and show your appreciation. A nice idea is to organise a farewell card and gift for an employee, even though this is a small gesture it can mean a lot to a departing employee and how they view the company.
If a more long serving member of staff is leaving and if a company budget permits, organising leaving drinks or a leaving lunch is a nice way to have a proper farewell celebration, and to get the whole company together. This is also a good way to keep up morale for the rest of the team, who may feel apprehensive and worried about an employee’s departure. If an employee is leaving on bad terms with the company, leaving events will be less appropriate, but a card is still a nice gesture.

9. Support your employees as much as possible

Being made redundant is tough and can have a huge toll on an employee’s mental and physical health. It’s important to make sure your departing employees have the best chance of finding a new career and to support them in any way you can. Here are a few ways you can support your employees:

• Provide employees with references if asked. If appropriate, give an employee a well-written reference praising them for their work and highlighting their strengths. An employee may need a reference to continue with a job application so don’t delay in sending one across

.• If an employee is confused about the redundancy process and what they are entitled to, make sure to find the time for a member of your HR team to sit down with them and talk over the process. We’ve put together a blog with advice on what to do when made redundant, which is a useful resource to share with your employees. 

Navigating an employee’s departure can be difficult, especially in the case of redundancies. Implement our employee offboarding process to ensure you’ve followed the correct legal procedures, your employees get the support they need, and your company is ready to move on and progress.