There was a time when employee offboarding simply meant a quick exit interview, signing for the laptop, and filling out some paperwork. 

Today it is a formal, strategic process that allows organizations to tap into the power of the departing employees and ensure they remain a positive force for the company.

Why Formal Employee Offboarding Is Mission Critical

Throughout your employees’ tenure, the business invested a lot of time and money in them while they gained industry experience and expert company knowledge. 

Once gone, they can share their opinions and knowledge in various ways with anyone they choose. 

As an organization, you need to keep them close for several reasons. It could be to ensure they leave as ambassadors, become customers, are willing to return in the future, and generally protect your company brand. 

That’s why formal, well-structured employee offboarding is critical. Let’s explore what Neelie Verlinden, Co-Founder and Editor In Chief of AIHR Digital, has to say about why this process matters in an article written for the AIHR Academy blog.

1. Former Employees May Return To Work For The Business Again

Regardless of why an employee leaves, a structured and positive offboarding experience will ensure that the doors stay open for them to boomerang right back after spending time at another organization. 

This has numerous advantages. If you’ve departed on good terms and been in touch via your alumni network, you call on them quickly and easily. If they return, they’ll be productive right out of the starting blocks because they already know your company structure and culture.

2. They Can Leave As Brand Ambassadors

Your offboarding process – the departing employee’s last impression of your company – should be one of the moments that matter to them.

Whenever they go on Glassdoor to leave a review, on Social Media to tell friends why they left, or chat to strangers about your company at an industry event, you want them to speak positively of it. 

If you show them the respect and gratitude that comes with a formal employee offboarding and welcome them into your alumni network, there’s a better chance of them singing your praises.

3. They Are Potential Customers

When employees move on, they take knowledge of your product with them. This could put you in a position of landing a new customer as they refer your business to their new place of work. Who better to vouch for your product or service than someone who knows it so well.

4. Improves Organization Security

A staggering 20% of organizations say they’ve experienced data breaches by former employees. This may be through malicious intent or simple negligence.

Formal offboarding procedures allow organizations to terminate access to company systems and networks with the flip of a switch. During an exit interview, they should review signed non-disclosure agreements and security policies to reinforce company privacy policies.


Considering these points, it’s evident that thorough employee offboarding that extends the relationship with your former employee is non-negotiable. The organization is protected, and the ex-employee is given a host of opportunities via your alumni network. 

Most importantly, those bridges remain intact, and doors are opened. 

Sign up for early access to the upcoming release of The Alumni Advantage, an end-to-end understanding of how organizations are recognizing and leveraging their former employees; authored by James Sinclair, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of EnterpriseAlumni.