Exit employees in a positive way

Employees may leave a business for many different reasons; from resignation or the end of a temporary contract, all the way through to under performance or redundancy. Despite the varied range of reasons for employees leaving,  it’s important to consider the experience of your exiting employee.

Therefore, take a moment and think about the last person who left your company. Did they have a good exit experience?

Many small, medium and even large companies do not have positive exit processes in place, which impacts on the experience of the employee leaving.

Why do you have to worry about the experience of an employee leaving your business?  They are leaving after all.

A negative exit experience can impact legal and legislative requirements, your business’ brand, your ability to hire top talent, internal team morale and even your reputation with customers. It makes good business sense to exit employees in a consistent and positive manner.

So, what can you do to improve your exit process?

It is important for all businesses to have best practice exit procedures in place to support businesses to manage the relationship between themselves and the employee exiting the business.  

Let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to improve the experience of your exiting employees.

1. Exit Process 

All businesses should have a documented exit process to effectively meet legal and legislative requirements,  manage the employee experience and ensure consistency. This includes outlining notice periods, processing of final pays, tasks to complete before the final day and information for exit interviews.

2. Exit Checklist

To ensure a consistent exit process for all employees, it can be helpful to develop a checklist to document all the necessary steps required to be completed prior to an employee leaving. The checklist should be completed by the employee together with their Supervisor or Manager and can include: 

    • items to be returned, 
    • notifying key stakeholders, 
    • hand over of outstanding work, 
    • removal of access to IT systems, and 
    • accessing training records.

3. Conduct exit interviews.

Exit interviews enable a business to gain deep insights into the way in which their employees view the business and give them an opportunity to share information about their employment experience. The information gained through these interviews can be really useful in learning more about the business and what (if anything) could have been done to keep them. This can assist businesses to understand where their strengths and weaknesses are and assist in reducing employee turnover and attracting the best candidates.

4. Make final payments timely and correct.

It is a legal requirement that employees are paid in the next available pay following their last day of employment. An employee should get the following entitlements in their final pay:

    • outstanding wages for hours they have worked, including penalty rates and allowances
    • any accumulated annual leave, including annual leave loading if it would have been paid during employment

and if it applies:

    • accrued or pro rata long service leave
    • payment in lieu of notice
    • redundancy pay

It can also assist the employee experience by providing them with further information about what to expect when they exit the business. This can include information about what tasks need to be completed prior to departure, how to request an exit interview, final payment, how to access income statements (formerly payment summary) and how to arrange a statement of service including for Centrelink.

5. Have company property returned.

As part of the exit process, ensure employees return all property belonging to the business prior to finishing up with the business or arrange details for any items to be collected.  Items could include:

    • laptops, 
    • mobile phones, 
    • accessories, 
    • credit cards, 
    • building swipe cards, 
    • identification, 
    • uniforms, as well as 
    • tools and equipment. 

6. Remove business access and point of contact.

Ensure that the necessary people are notified of the employees last day of employment so that access to business systems, the office and building, work vehicles, subscriptions or memberships,  are removed. It is also a good idea to notify key stakeholders that an employee has left the business and who their new point of contact will be.  

With a few simple changes to the way that a business exits an employee, it can go a long way in improving the exit experience for an employee. It makes good business sense to exit an employee in a consistent and positive manner. 

How do your current conclusion practices stack up against this list? To find out more about our conclusion services, contact the Small Business Society team.

The information provided in this document is for your guidance only and is general in nature. It does not constitute as legal advice. It is the responsibility of the individual to seek legal advice where required.


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About Kate Tongue

Kate Tongue is the founding Director of Small Business Society.

She is a qualified and experienced Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience across the private and public sectors.

Her particular interest and experience is in managing the employee life cycle, delivering process improvements, and Human Resource strategy.


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