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Division of Human Resources


Offboarding is the formal separation process between an employee and the university. When managed well, this process maintains our reputation, reduces risk and creates advocates for our institution.

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Once an employee expresses intent to leave, it is important to make that transition as easy as possible. Your job as a manager is to guide them through the process and be proactive in preparing for the change. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth transition. For more information on separation, refer to HR Policy 1.57 [pdf].

  • Sure, you may be disappointed to lose this employee however, practice self-regulation, smile and congratulate them on their new opportunity.
    • Why it matters: Your initial reaction to their resignation will set the tone for the next several days leading up to their departure. A poor reaction could be detrimental to knowledge transfer and wrapping up work before they leave.
  • If you decide you would like to try to retain this employee, work with your HR Contact and HR Service Team to negotiate a retention proposal.
  • Use this template [docx] to provide written acceptance of their resignation. 

Let the employee know that you need a day to outline their offboarding timeline and you will soon be in touch to discuss. 

Why it matters: When managers leave planning until the last minute, the offboarding experience feels impersonal, disjointed, rushed, stressful and sometimes the managers are left empty-handed. The possibility exists that your employee, or others on the team, as part of the knowledge transfer, may need to use unplanned sick leave or have scheduled leave. 

Actions to include in the plan:

Schedule time to meet with the employee to discuss why they are leaving.

  • Let them do most of the talking.
  • Ask questions and avoid being defensive to glean the most information from this exit conversation.

Also, encourage the employee to complete the university exit interview when they complete their offboarding tasks in Employee Self-Service (ESS) or receive the email including the link to the exit interview survey, if applicable. 

Timely departure notifications can clear up assumptions before they are miscommunicated throughout your organizational unit. People spread gossip in the absence of information.

Develop a communication plan to inform the appropriate people at the right time.

  • Who needs to be notified, when and how?
  • What messaging will you send and what will the employee send?
  • Who should know first? 

Review your equipment inventory list to understand what equipment they need to return from their work office and optional remote office.

  • Discuss return dates and methods of return such as mail or drop off.
  • Include other items such as keys, badges, procurement cards, etc.
  • Find out if they need help packing up their office in case they are unable.
  • Submit a ticket to DoIT to deactivate their system access. Include logins that are not single sign on.
  • Approve all time and leave requests.
  • Retrieve any outstanding receipts and/or cards for any Purchase Card, Team Card or Travel Card holder.
  • Ensure all outstanding travel or other reimbursable expenses have been approved and processed.
  • Verify with your HR Contact that the separation action has been submitted and approved in HCM PeopleSoft.

Ensure critical knowledge has been shared from this employee to others and fill any remaining gaps in knowledge during their final time with the organization.

  • Transfer employee responsibilities, temporarily or permanently.
  • Share process manuals, checklists, guidelines, cheat sheets, etc.
  • Create introductions.
  • Collect and redistribute project plans.

Why it matters: Doing this will maintain operations, employee morale, customer confidence and quality of service after the employee leaves.

Developing a plan will prevent misunderstandings and avoid competing priorities through clear expectations and accountability.

Some questions you should consider in this plan include:

  • What are your expectations of this employee during their final days?
  • What are their top priorities?
  • What is shifting off their plate so that they can focus on these priorities?
  • When will other employees start to take over some of their work?
  • Has this been explicitly communicated?

Consider the platinum rule as you plan their farewell event.

  • What would be their preference?
  • If you do not know, ask. – A small, intimate team gathering? A large college/division drop-in celebration? A lunch with 2-3 colleagues? A card and a handshake?

Ensure they receive a farewell that is well-suited to the individual so they leave on a high with happy thoughts about the time they spent with us.

Encourage your employee to provide feedback about their experience through the exit interview process, if applicable.

Why it matters: Exit interview feedback is critical to assess the employee experience within the university and to identify opportunities for improvement which can positively impact employee engagement, retention and management.

For employees in full-time equivalent (FTE), research grant (RGP) and time-limited (TL) positions who voluntarily leave, an automated process for offboarding (including the exit interview) is provided in Employee Self Service (ESS). 

If your FTE, RGP or TL employee is leaving for voluntary reasons, monitor their offboarding progress through the Offboarding tile available in Manager Self Service (MSS) using this job aid [pdf]. Refer to this recorded training session for more information. 

Action Items for HR Contacts

HR Contacts can use the following resources to submit a separation action in HCM. 

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