2021 was marked by the phenomenon of The Great Resignation as a large number of people quit their jobs for flexible and primarily remote working opportunities. According to the report by the US Labor Department, nearly 4.5 million workers resigned by November 2021.
Furthermore, as millennial employees increasingly move in and out of organizations due to a culture of frequent job-hopping, standardized employee offboarding still remains a largely neglected process. Only 29% of businesses follow a formal offboarding process and a large number of organizations bear the hidden cost of poor offboarding management.
What is employee offboarding?
Employee offboarding refers to the formal separation of employees from their organizations. It includes all the company processes, be it HR or technical, that aid in the seamless exit of employees from the company. From transferring employees’ job responsibilities onto their successors and retrieving company assets to revoking access to certain privileges, there are many key steps involved.
What does it mean for the IT department?
In the era of digitized workflows, companies have widespread IT infrastructure and regularly deploy hundreds of SaaS applications so their employees can work efficiently. During times of mass offboarding, this translates into more responsibilities for the IT department.
The IT administrators must figure out which devices, software applications, and other peripherals are assigned to exiting employees and recover them in a timely manner to ensure the safety of the corporate infrastructure.
This makes IT offboarding a crucial element of the general employee offboarding process. Proactive technical offboarding not only benefits your business but also helps you convert the leaving employees into advocates of your company for future hires.
Benefits of proactive IT offboarding
Here’s how timely offboarding of technology assets benefits your company:
- Cost savings: You can avoid costs that result from misplacement of expensive IT assets, delayed cancellation of software licenses, and consequences of intellectual property theft and security breaches after an employee leaves. According to the Ponemon Institute, every lost laptop costs an organization approximately $49,000 in terms of the data value a device contains.
- Security and audit compliance: Timely check-in of IT devices and software licenses ensures that exiting employees no longer have access to sensitive company data and valuable intellectual property. Swift offboarding ensures complete security compliance. It also reduces audit risk by keeping your available asset repository up-to-date.
- Smooth employee exits: Proactive offboarding approach with timely alerts and reminders helps streamline the last few interactions of the leaving employees with your organization, enabling maximum employee satisfaction and ensuring that such workers leave your company on good terms.
6 key elements of an IT offboarding checklist
Make sure that you’ve dealt with every technical aspect of the employee offboarding process with a well-structured checklist.
Consider the following steps for seamless employee exits:
1. Keep a record of employee exit dates
Employees may leave in an expected and sometimes, unexpected manner. The exit of contract-based employees and compulsory retirements are typically expected and have well-defined dates. Alternatively, voluntary resignations and retirements, and dismissals are unpredictable.
Due to the nature of employee exits, it’s important to keep in constant communication with the HR department and stay updated on the upcoming employee exits. Losing track of even one such employee can cost you thousands of dollars in a security breach.
2. Set alerts for employee offboarding
Once you have procured a list of exiting employees, set reminders or alerts corresponding to their exit dates. You can also add details such as the personal or contact information of leaving employees along with the IT assets, software licenses, and domains assigned to them. This makes it easier for you to reach out to these employees and flag the devices that need to be recovered.
Pro tip! An effective way to stay on top of upcoming offboarding is to set alerts at least a week before the actual exit dates of employees. This way, you get enough time to plan the remaining steps of the offboarding process.
3. Maintain a list of technology assets
List down all the technology assets that are in the custody of leaving employees. These may include the following:
- Hardware: Devices like laptops, personal computers, iPads, and company-issued smartphones
- Peripherals: Auxiliary technology assets such as keyboards, monitors, mice, printers, headphones, etc
- Network assets: Especially relevant for remote employees, these may consist of USB dongles and routers or switches for home
- Software: License seats of the software applications used by employees. For example, a graphic designer may have license seats for the entire Adobe software suite.
- Domains: Website URLs in the custody of an employee. Let’s say, the Vice President of Engineering may have custody of your website’s testing domain.
4. Reclaim digital assets
Once you’ve compiled the list of all technology assets in the possession of leaving employees, your next step is to reclaim the digital assets from among this list.
- Start by identifying the email address of such employees in your Active Directory. Review the software applications, domains, or any shared accounts associated with these email addresses.
- Next, back up relevant company data from these shared accounts and software tools to your organization’s cloud database.
- Update your Active Directory (AD) by de-provisioning the profiles of leaving employees. If your AD is integrated with various software tools that the company uses, it will automatically revoke access of such employees to applications, systems, and data.
- Otherwise, you can manually change the passwords of shared software accounts.
- If the exiting employee has administrator rights for any software applications, re-assign these rights to the succeeding employee.
- Next, reclaim any software licenses and domains.
- Update the inventory of available license seats and domain assets for assignment to upcoming employees.
- Lastly, review any remote access methods used by leaving employees. Terminate their VPN access accordingly.
5. Recover and inspect physical assets
Physical assets include anything ranging from laptops, mobile phones, and peripherals to access cards and physical tokens. Scan these assets for key business data and keep a backup of this data in the organizational cloud — just as you did for software applications. Change the system’s ownership to either a default administrator account or assign it to the next employee.
Furthermore, carefully examine the physical assets for any damage. Draft a bill for any damages and share it with both the HR and Finance departments so they can charge the relevant employee before their exit. An effective way is to deduct the cost of charges from the arrears, pending benefits, or severance packages.
If you have remote employees who find it difficult to return physical assets via courier, you can choose to give ownership rights to such employees and charge them for the book value of these assets.
6. Repurpose IT equipment
The primary purpose of timely onboarding is to save costs. With recovered physical assets, your next step should be calculating the book value of assets. While there may be assets that have reached the end of their useful lives, there may be assets that still have significant useful life left.
Repurpose these assets for the new employees, or better yet, for contract-based employees. This way, you can also recover the salvage value of your assets and fulfill the IT needs of short-term employees or interns.
A checklist is great but it’s better to have a tool that helps you achieve all this.
Ensure smooth and proactive employee offboarding with AssetSonar
AssetSonar is a powerful ITSM tool that keeps a centralized account of all your IT assets — hardware or software — along with the custodian, location, and utilization information.
Streamline your IT offboarding processes with AssetSonar:
- Keep a cloud-based repository of your IT asset and employee data.
- Record offboarding dates against employee profiles.
- Set customizable email-based alerts for employee offboarding dates. The email alerts include information regarding the physical and digital assets you need to check in.
- Access software, domain, and hardware assets from member profiles of employees and check them back into the system. AssetSonar automatically updates the count of available assets and license seats upon check-in.
- While checking in physical assets, you can use custom fields to record damage costs and then communicate those to the relevant departments.
- Run reports on the Age of Assets, filter data by the useful lives, and repurpose assets that fall within their useful lives yet.
Ensure seamless IT offboarding of employees with a single solution. Sign up today for a free 15-day trial.