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How do I manage Employee Separations?
Which employees should be managed during the Employee Separation process?
What common mistakes are made during employee termination?
Should we include all employees who left voluntarily, involuntarily, part-time and transferred in exit interviews?

How do I manage Employee Separations?

When an employee leaves an organization or there is a termination of employee, the offboarding process is set into motion.  Human Resources must be notified, access to files and emails must be terminated, keys collected, phones disconnected, and paperwork must be completed. Accounts and accrued vacation time may have to be paid out. This can be a confusing and time-consuming process unless it is managed effectively with a minimum of an employee exit checklist.

Which employees should be included in the Employee Separation process?

Departing employees who have left voluntarily, involuntarily, part-time, full-time, and transferees all should receive unique employee separation procedures. Some organizations also manage separations distinctly for contingent (contractors), temps, interns, maternity, seasonal, and retirees.

During an employee separation, whether the departing employee was a resignation (voluntary) or a notice of employee termination (involuntary), a thorough employee exit form or separation management software is critical. For some employees, there can be up to 100 unique tasks on an employee exit checklist. Without a separation management system, offboarding can be complicated, inconsistent and even ignored. A single overlooked separation task can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Insurance, company car, payroll, trade secrets, credit card, can all be left for days or weeks without offboarding best practices.  An offboarding specialist can establish best practices for your company to follow.

What common mistakes are made during employee termination? Are there legal issues to consider with exit interviews?

In employee terminations, organizations often ignore the need to communicate the termination decision with their employees. Sometimes, employers even take an overly aggressive approach to justify rather than taking responsibility for their decisions. Additionally, when organizations fail to document the proof of poor employee performance, they are very likely to run into legal issues.

Exit interviews can help minimize litigation if you address the information you receive in your employee exit process. Be clear about local government policies regarding anonymity and confidentiality, which vary from state to state and country to country. Some companies coordinate departing employees with managers or department heads. As well as being uncomfortable, this does not allow for open and honest feedback. This is another reason to use an exit interview company. If you have “hostile” employees, find an exit interview provider that red flags and reports potential serious matters to HR.

Should we include all employees who left voluntarily, involuntarily, part-time and transferred in exit interviews?

Most separating employees should receive exit interviews (with slightly different questions). This allows the organization to gain diverse perspectives of employees’ experience and positions. Voluntary separations can inform the organization of why employees were unfulfilled with their employment and the organization. Part-time employees are critical to include because they have a different commitment to the organization. Transfers should also be included in exit interviews because they show deep commitment to the organization.

Involuntary separation exit interviews are not as critical, though they do offer value. They can inform the company about the reasons an employee does not succeed in their position. Was the employee unmotivated? Were expectations unmet? Why was it a bad hire? Should recruiting procedures be modified to filter out individuals that we are more likely to terminate?  During layoffs, you can capture valuable procedural or operational insights that would otherwise be lost. Though you may want to include all types of employees in exit interviews, it is most important to conduct exit interviews voluntary employee separations.

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