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What to Include in an Employee Exit Checklist
Published: August 15, 2022

Onboarding prepares new hires for their first day and educates them about company processes. But what happens when an employee quits?

Many companies don’t have an employee exit process to see workers off. Not only does this hurt the employee-employer relationship (and potential future referrals), it creates security issues. And it prevents you from learning all you can about why the worker is leaving and how to improve your workplace. 

The best way to prevent this: create an employee exit checklist. 

If you don’t already have one, this guide will help you. Let’s review what you should include in an employee exit interview checklist. 


What is an Employee Exit Checklist?

An employee exit process checklist covers what an HR manager needs to do before employees leave the company. Having this document and process is essential to track necessary tasks to avoid mishaps.

The goal is to ensure all matters are resolved before an employee exits, such as:

  • Collecting company property (e.g., phones, vehicles, laptops, accounts)
  • Revoking access to company accounts (e.g., bank accounts, software tools, databases)
  • Completing exit interview paperwork (e.g., survey, resignation letter)

This checklist goes to the exiting employee, so they know what to do before leaving. And the HR manager must also do their part to ensure everything is complete. 


What are the Benefits of an Exit Interview Checklist?

When an employee leaves your company, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the situation. Are they resigning for negative reasons? If so, you can learn the underlying reasons behind their departure during the exiting process. 

This may reveal unseen issues, such as:

  • Shortcomings in your recruitment process
  • Toxic workplace culture
  • Poor leadership skills among management
  • Lack of work-life balance for workers

With this knowledge, you can make improvements to prevent future employee turnover. For example, if salary complaints arise, then you know it’s a financial issue. Or if there’s dismay with management, then it’s a leadership concern.

But that’s not the only reason to develop an exit interview policy.

Having an exit process for employees enables you to offer feedback and help employees leave on good terms. 

“The exit interview is the time to see how you can best support the employee on their way out. Employees’ needs are often overlooked during the exit process because the focus is on finding and onboarding a replacement. By conducting an employee exit interview, you can learn exactly what that employee needs to be successful on their way out.” — Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce at Sunshine 79.

For example, an employee exiting may need a referral letter, resources to train the new hire, or paid time off to prepare for a big move.  


What to Include in the Employee Exit Checklist

Your checklist should cover the exiting process from beginning to end. Here’s an overview of the key areas to include. 


Collecting and Handing out Paperwork

An employee’s resignation isn’t official until you collect the necessary paperwork. Gather the worker’s signed resignation letter (or have them sign an acknowledgment of termination). 

If you haven’t already, provide a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect company trademark secrets. Also, don’t overlook benefits and back-pay the employees owed. Cover this in the documentation, so there’s no confusion. 

For instance, provide the employee with a benefits letter, COBRA details, retirement and insurance documents, and severance pay paperwork. If the worker’s moving, give them a change of address form to ensure mail reaches them. 


Removing Employee Access

Allowing employees to quit without revoking access to sensitive data can be disastrous. Avoid this by withdrawing access in a timely manner—not too soon, so the employee can wrap up what they need to do. But not too late where the employee continues to have access after their last day. 

Some things to consider revoking include:

  • Computers
  • Financial accounts
  • Vehicles
  • Keys to properties
  • Database/network usernames passwords (have IT change access logins)

Also, remove the employee from company communications, so they no longer receive notifications and updates from co-workers and management. 


Requesting a Job Handover List

A job handover checklist is vital depending on the employee’s role. For example, if the departing employee managed a team of people, then they’ll need to provide a list of:

  • everyone who reports directly to them
  • projects in the works
  • tasks and who’s accountable for them
  • contacts (e.g., clients, vendors, essential email IDs)
  • daily duties, process workflows, and supervisor

This helps during the transition period, so the new hire can hit the floor running (especially if the exiting employee isn’t able to train them). 


Updating Company Records

Keep your company files up-to-date by reflecting changes immediately. When an employee exits, remove them from payroll and HR software. Then update all of your records showing they’re no longer employed by your organization. Also, remove all personal information about the employee from your systems. This includes social media profiles, online banking info, and bio on the company team web page.


Informing Co-Workers

Letting other employees know about a worker’s departure is critical to ensure they don’t continue sending them company information. This is particularly necessary for remote work scenarios where co-workers can’t see the absence of a fellow employee. 


Conducting an Exit Interview

Before the employee leaves, host a final one-on-one interview. Use the exit interview as a time to offer support and get feedback to improve your HR processes. 

Here are a few questions you can ask:

  • Were you able to achieve your goals at our company? Why or why not?
  • Do you feel our work culture is safe and supportive? Why or why not?
  • What could we have done differently to make your role here easier?
  • What could we do to make you reconsider leaving? 
  • Would you ever work at our company again? Why or why not?
  • Would you recommend our company to a friend? Why or why not?
  • What made you choose your new job role? 
  • What did you like and dislike the most about your current role and our company? 
  • Do you feel we offer a good work-life balance? What can we do to make that better?
  • How can I help you make your transition easier?

The answers you receive should be action points to make your company a better employer. So take notes and begin planning for change.

“The most impactful employee exit interview question is if the employee would recommend the company to a friend or family member as a place to work. The question gets to the heart of the company’s culture. If employees aren’t willing to recommend the company to others, or say so with hesitation, dive deeper to understand why. This is especially important for top performers, you want them to recommend other top candidates to your organization.” — Scott Baker, Founder and CEO of Stage 3 Leadership


Cutting the Final Check

Don’t forget to schedule the last payment to the exiting employee before removing them from your HR and payroll systems. Also, check with state laws to determine when you must issue the last check. Some states require employers to provide the final check on the next regular payday or during the exit interview. 

Make sure to calculate any pending back pay, bonuses, vacation pay, and other commissions owed to the employee beforehand.  


How to Make Your Exit Interview Paperwork Easier

Paperwork slows processes, increases human error, and risks getting lost. Why deal with any of that when you can go completely digital with your HR documents? 

Instead of using a manual paper-based exiting process, consider going automated with digital processes. OnTask simplifies HR workflows from onboarding to offboarding, so you can focus on what matters most—your people. 

We even offer an employee exit survey template to adopt as is or build upon. Then use OnTask to send the exit survey, along with necessary forms and documents to review, fill out, and eSign virtually. Everything’s linked, so nothing’s lost in the process. 

Need to upgrade your employee exit process? Then start your free trial with OnTask today.