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People Update

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

Off-boarding (the poor cousin to onboarding)


Much has been written on the importance of getting the onboarding experience right for new employees but what about off-boarding - saying goodbye and farewell to colleagues who are leaving of their own volition? What signals do you send with the way you say goodbye?

Why bother with off-boarding?

Your employees are watching, that's why. Our employees don't miss a move - but are unlikely to tell you about the bum notes you hit when you don't do the right thing when a team member leaves. Offboarding is just one leadership behaviour that sets the tone inside your organization and those tones define your culture.


How do you announce the departure?

You can try the organization wide email. I've seen the "comings and goings" monthly update work but be careful because your people will read between the lines - a terse " We thank Zebadiah for his work in <department> and wish him luck in his future ventures" is brevity to the point of being a middle finger and your people will notice. Or you might announce on a team specific call to affected team members. If you do this, please anticipate the questions you are likely to be asked and be prepared an answer them without any one asking - where there is ambiguity or a lack of (perceived or actual) psychological safety those on the call are unlikely to speak up. So set the tone by sharing the news, any relevant context, your thanks for the person's accomplishments (with specific examples) and then clearly define how things will work after the person departs


How do you behave during the notice period?

Some leaders ignore those that are leaving - sometimes just dropping connections (1-1s, check ins, uninviting them to team meetings etc.) others go further and refuse to acknowledge the departure publicly and even not attending a farewell party (or funding the cake / card!)


Other leaders lean into the departure; thanking the colleague for their time, efforts and celebrating their contributions, their wins; they celebrate the colleague's time with the organization. And that is a powerful message to those who are staying.


How does your organization treat the departure of team members?

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