Off-Boarding Benefits: Retain Institutional Knowledge As Baby Boomers Retire

Off-boarding benefits retain institutional knowledge

3 tips help you maintain peak productivity as you transfer skills & workload

Onboarding employees—getting them up to speed quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively—is an important part of your hiring process. But there’s another transitional process you can’t afford to ignore: off-boarding. And why you may ask – well major Off-boarding benefit: Retaining institutional knowledge.

With a large number of baby boomers retiring, you need to pass the torch of knowledge to your next generation of workers, explains employee management expert Carol Hacker. You can do this effectively by laying the off-boarding groundwork now for a seamless transition that reduces future turnover.

Catalog Knowledge for Future Employees

There are a number of reasons off-boarding is important. Giving your departing employees a proper goodbye will improve the likelihood they’ll represent your brand well and become evangelists for your business, suggests Hacker. But there’s a more important reason: company productivity.

“When employees leave the company, their knowledge, process, expertise, and insider information leave with them,” notes Training Industry. Don’t waste those valuable assets!

You have two options when long-time employees depart: You can transfer their knowledge to existing employees, or you can hire new employees and fully train them to fill the vacant positions. While the first option is more cost effective, both options are doable if you’ve implemented strategic off-boarding strategies.

“Onboarding can cost 150 percent of an employee’s salary, but when existing employees catalog important processes, intellectual property, and tips and tricks for efficient execution, it becomes significantly easier to ramp up new employees,” states Training Industry.

3 No-Gap-in-the-Workload Transfer Tips

Another off-boarding benefit is that, when done right, off-boarding reduces interruptions in workflow.

Here are 3 ways you can be sure to never miss a beat when transferring a departing employee’s workload:

  • Make a departure checklist. Be sure to tie up all loose ends with a departing employee. Consider all the to-do items you must get to, such as signing non-disclosure paperwork, communicating this departure to your other employees, and transferring job responsibilities. You can make your own checklist, or choose one from a number of checklists available online, provided by Software Advice, Inc, hronboard, and Justworks, Inc, just to name a few.
  • Transfer employee knowledge. It’s crucial to gather a comprehensive list of the departing employee’s duties and responsibilities. “When employees leave, they take their skills and institutional knowledge with them. If you don’t record that knowledge somewhere, it could be lost forever—leaving the next hire high-and-dry to figure out the role on their own,” states Software Advice. Break down the employee’s daily routine into step-by-step instructions for an easier knowledge transfer, suggests Software Advice.
  • Keep Boomers in the loop. Retiring baby boomers don’t necessarily want to stop working. “Once they are respectfully offboarded from full-time employment, boomers can act as external contractors, using technology like videoconferencing and virtual reality to work on individual projects, mentor employees, and advise senior leaders,” notes SilkRoad.” Doing so can minimize the skills gap and worker shortage, especially since these retirees are less risky than new hires, suggests SilkRoad.

Learn to Establish a Sound Off-Boarding Program

If you’re still wondering whether off-boarding is worth your time and money—or how to get started—it’s time to do your research, asserts Carol Hacker. 

(This post first appeared in a ProfEd blog)

By Amy P on 27th December 2018

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