Effective Strategies to Offboarding Teams


Employee exit management (often referred to as offboarding), is an intentional process of separating an employee from their employer.

There are many ways to provide a proactive solution for temporary and permanent layoffs. Being proactive ensures that you have action items in place well before the employee is told they are no longer going to a part of your team.

Below are our top 5 things to consider when offboarding proactively:

  1. Be empathetic from start to finish

    1. You will see this threaded through all that we do. We believe whole heartedly that people will always give what they get. The better you treat them, at every stage of their career, the better they will leave your organization.
    2. A layoff is likely not expected or desired and therefore, can take some time to process. Be prepared to give them the time they need to be “ok” with your decision.

Ensuring your teams experience a graceful offboarding process will be paramount to the relationship you keep with your remaining employees and will be the basis on which your employee brand and culture stand on.

  1. Get constructive feedback

    1. Ensure that you give the employee the ability to share their thoughts on what worked, and what didn’t, during their time with you. It is often easier for this to be outsourced to ensure that you are getting honest feedback. A layoff can be a sensitive time for people, so ensure that you are giving them an opportunity to process, grieve the loss and manage their needs before asking for anything in return
  2. Ensure an effective hand-off

    1. Communication is your number one responsibility. Speak with the employee, speak with their supervisor and their teams, and be open and available to an ongoing conversation.
    2. If you are only eliminating part of the team, someone else will be picking up the pieces that are being left. Support your existing team by ensuring the laid off employee is properly and effectively handing off their work.
    3. Be mindful that this is a difficult time for them and let them determine the best way to do this.

Some ideas of ways to effectively facilitate a hand-off are:

  • An email with a list of outstanding tasks
  • A 1 on 1 meeting
  • A call setup between the employee and the team member
    1. If there is not the ability to effectively handoff, ensure that you have their contact information updated, should you need to reach them
  1. Celebrate your outgoing employees

    1. The Coronavirus has hit companies in unprecedented ways. Many of the layoffs taking place right now are not due to a company’s desire, but out of necessity. The teams that you are letting go are likely winners, and people that you hope will return to your business when the time comes.

Some great ways to show your appreciation and admiration for your outgoing teams are:

  • Thank you cards
  • A going away lunch
  • A break in the last day to hold a standup and personally thank them for their time and support
  • Provide them with a reference letter if they did a great job working for you
  1. Have a plan

    1. If you know that this is a temporary layoff, make sure to communicate that clearly
    2. If you know that there is likely no opportunity of them getting rehired, let them know
    3. Be honest, be transparent, be kind


The piece that we see forgotten the most is that while you are looking after the employees that are being laid off, it is easy to forget about the employees that remain.

There is no doubt that they are wondering if “they are next” so take the time to communicate with the remaining team let them know what you are planning.

Reaffirming your commitment to your existing teams will ensure you do not have to deal with additional, and unplanned attrition.

Allow for the remaining team to come forward with their concerns, their ideas, and their hopes.

Bring them in to the plan for the future so that they have a say in the future of their company.

Lastly, in order to ensure that you have completed all the necessary steps during the offboarding process, Career Contacts has created a robust offboarding checklist.

Interested in getting a copy of our offboarding Checklist? Email us at hiring@careercontacts.ca and we will send one over to you, at no cost!


The entire HR team at Career Contacts is dedicated to supporting our clients and our communities with FREE COVID related HR support. One of the most demanding requests we have received is for offboarding support.


Please feel free to reach out to our teams to see how we can support you today!