In the business world, there is a lot of talk about how to onboard customers and employees. There is a lot less information answering the questions what is offboarding process management and how does it work? Even so, offboarding plays as important a role in business operations as onboarding. Automating offboarding process management can also help businesses reduce inefficiencies and remain compliant.
What Is Offboarding Process Management?
Onboarding processes refer to the steps taken to sever ties with an employee or client. It begins whenever either party decides to discontinue the relationship, even if there is a period of notice given for employees or client subscriptions to wait out. These are some of the tasks that make up the employee offboarding process:
- Informing employees of the offboarding process
- Requesting information on why employees chose to leave
- Disabling employee ID cards
- Disabling employee log-in credentials
- Making final payments
In some ways, onboarding clients is not unlike offboarding employees. Here are some of the tasks that make up the customer offboarding process:
- Informing clients of the offboarding process
- Informing clients of how long their continued service might last
- Disabling log-in credentials
- Deleting personal information
- Collecting final payments or issuing refunds
Every business has some kind of offboarding process in place, but not all businesses have a management plan. Creating one might not top most business’ list, but it can become the decision that makes or breaks a business in the future.
The Importance of Creating an Offboarding Process
If you’re not convinced you should have an offboarding process, you’re not alone. Less then a third of organizations have at least a partially automated offboarding process. Some have no offboarding process at all. So, why should you reconsider?
Data Privacy Compliance
If nothing else compels you to create an offboarding process, the need for regulation compliance will change your mind. In 2018, the European Commission’s consumer data protection laws came into effect. That same year, California followed up with its own consumer data protection laws. Both sets of laws make provisions for a customer’s right to be forgotten. This means that when someone asks to have his or her account deleted, companies must comply by completely removing all personal data belonging to that entity.
Patient Privacy Compliance
While no modern consumer privacy laws exist at the federal level, the HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the personal information of medical patients. At some point, organizations that handle related paperwork will need to dispose of them. These organizations must follow guidelines for the disposal of both printed and electronic files.
According to the U.S. Health and Human Services, one recommended method of disposing of electronic files is using software to overwrite the media. Having a structured offboarding process in place helps ensure all workers follow the proper procedures to avoid violations.
Labor Laws Compliance
Compliance is also extremely important in human resources. Companies have specific guidelines from the IRS on how long they should retain records of past and current employees. Failure to do so could create problems should the company later face audits.
A structured offboarding process can also help companies prove compliance when it comes to termination. Having records regarding the termination process can help the employer prove it terminated the employee for legitimate reasons and within contractual guidelines.
Industries That Need To Automate Offboarding Process Management
For some businesses, offboarding might not always make immediate sense. This is especially true of businesses that do not use technology and might not have a large labor force. Common examples of businesses that might not need structured offboarding processes include small farms and mom-and-pop shops.
However, there are some industries where offboarding is crucial to an efficiently run business:
- Health care and pharmaceuticals
- Manufacturing and engineering
- Renewable energy sources
- Accounting and law
How To Do Offboarding Process Management
There is no one way to do client or employee offboarding that works for every business. Managers will need to spend a great deal of time analyzing business processes before creating a structured system. These are some great starting points:
Review Applicable Laws
If you work in a highly regulated industry, there are likely steps provided for you by the regulating bodies. Review their requirements before moving forward. Even if you do not work in a highly regulated field, note that all companies have to abide by labor laws. Companies that primarily hire contractors and have no formal HR departments might feel exempt from this. Note that if contractors later claim they should have been employees, you will likely have to present proof of payroll records.
Consult With Involved Managers
Some professionals in your organization are more involved with the offboarding process than others. This might be voluntarily or because of the roles they play, such as human resources managers and customer service agents. Speak to them directly to determine what their contributions are. Only then can you get a solid idea of how to create offboarding processes for clients and customers.
How To Improve Offboarding Process for Clients and Employees
Clients often leave to try seemingly greener pastures and then change their minds. The same is true of employees. Mastering how to improve the offboarding process can be the difference between whether they come back and how quickly they do so.
Make It Mobile
Some companies choose to make offboarding processes difficult so people get fed up and procrastinate. Famous examples include being able to sign up online but then needing to visit a physical location or call the business during operating hours to end services. Make it easy to leave so people will not think twice about re-tying themselves to your brand.
Departing clients are worth far less to your bottom line than an incoming client unless you can stop them from leaving. Clients often begin the leaving process and decide to stay. Automation can save time regardless of their decision. For example, consider someone thinking of switching phone companies who can easily get the password from a mobile app. This can save you time and money when revenue is walking out the door.
Ask for Feedback
Customers leaving a business might not feel interested in completing lengthy surveys, so be sure to consider the length when creating these. Even so, the more detailed feedback you can receive, the better the chances of your business being able to use that input to create effective changes. This can then reduce the likelihood of losing more customers.
How To Automate Offboarding Process Management
Managers often feel especially intimidated by figuring out how to automate client offboarding process management. This can create more complexities than onboarding employees because there’s a greater desire for that entity to return. With this goal in mind, businesses might need to look beyond just removing entities from the system.
For example, when customers try to cancel subscription services, companies often offer a discounted rate that might encourage them to stay. This can be difficult to automate because it might require some negotiations. However, there are ways to get it done and an experienced software provider can help you find solutions.
Automating the offboarding process for employees is much easier but must follow compliance guidelines.
Are you looking for tangible solutions for your offboarding process? Fluix offers automation solutions to companies all around the world. Take a look at our plans. You can also ask about our free demo.