During my years leading OnTask’s product management, we’ve spoken with a wide variety of clients from different industries and encountered an array of problems to solve. Despite that variety, Human Resources challenges seem to come up frequently. And that’s natural, given how much time in HR can be taken up by rote processes.
Though we all know HR and paperwork go hand-in-hand, we usually associate it with words like hiring and employee relations. Yet there’s another, no-less important area that gets less attention: offboarding. We’re currently in the era of the Great Resignation, so this responsibility is inevitably taking up more time than it used to. It’s filled with paperwork involving various departments and small, repeatable tasks that suck up HR departments’ time, just like onboarding and hiring. But the difference is that the company is losing rather than gaining talent. That means there’s an even stronger interest in minimizing unnecessary time and resource drains here.
What’s an HR department to do? Though you’re losing talent when you offboard, doing it right is no less crucial to the well-being of the company. So let’s discuss simple ways you can streamline the process, ensuring it’s as low-cost and pain-free as possible.
3 Problems Automated Offboarding Solves
The core of the advice I want to offer is this: I recommend automating your process. But what does that look like? What are the benefits of workflow automation for offboarding?
Here are three common problems you can solve using automated offboarding.
Problem # 1 – Overwhelming paperwork: While you can’t avoid paperwork, you can reduce the time it takes. When offboarding, administrative tasks like these can get in the way of crucial human-to-human interaction. For example, companies can reduce turnover if they perform effective exit interviews. But if all your team’s attention is focused on manual paperwork and administrative responsibilities, these crucial relational tasks can fall through the cracks.
The solution: Workflow automation simplifies paperwork and administrative tasks, freeing your team to focus on the human side of offboarding.
How it helps: A manual process might involve sending individual forms to employees, then later checking and securely filing the returned forms one by one. This requires mental resources from your team that they could use elsewhere. It can also lead to human error (if a form gets overlooked, for example.) Using HR automation, however, automatically send the needed forms, then upload them once they’ve been filled out.
Problem #2 – Reinventing the wheel: Many repeatable tasks are conditional. That means that while repetitive, what comes next changes based on the situation. This can leave humans chained to processes that are largely the same, but vary in terms of the order in which they’re performed.
The solution: Instead of reinventing the wheel with each new situation, allow conditional logic to simplify your workflow.
How it helps: Let’s say you send an offboarding employee a packet of forms to fill out within the next week. If they send them back on time, you can schedule the exit interview. If they are late, you may need to send them a reminder. If they are on time but missing information, you may need to ask them to revise the forms. All of this requires you to wait on the employee before completing your offboarding plan. Instead, use a platform that features conditional logic. With simple “if-then” statements, you can program different to-do list items that trigger only in certain situations.
Problem #3 – Missed compliance requirements: As with every HR process, offboarding involves crucial compliance policies. And Murphy’s law seems to dictate that the more policies your team oversees manually, the greater the chance of error. Mistakes involving compliance can be a major headache and liability for the company.
The solution: A compliant workflow automation platform will never miss a requirement, eliminating human error.
How it helps: Imagine you have five employees offboarding. Of those, three send back their paperwork correctly, one forgets, and one sends it back in an unsecure format. The person that was supposed to follow up is out sick, so the follow-up falls through the cracks. When the oversight is discovered, there’s more paperwork and catch-up to ensure everything on file is within compliance. In contrast, a fully compliant automation solution would immediately follow up with employees using conditional logic, and all files in the system would be 100% compliant and secure, end to end.
Facing the Great Resignation with Automation
No employer looks forward to offboarding, but the Great Resignation is a challenge to us all to step up our game when it comes to a sound exit procedure. Time and time again I have seen how inefficient processes can present roadblocks when it comes to compliance and adding in the human interaction needed for your business. Look to workflow automation to solve both problems in one stroke.
About the Author
Steve Wilson has dedicated his time at OnTask, a division of Accusoft, to making workflow automation simple and accessible for HR professionals. As the head of product management at OnTask, Steve has worked to develop a simple, no-code automation tool that fits the needs of HR departments. His work on OnTask allows HR team members to automate employee health tracking, onboarding, PTO requests, and various other human capital-based processes.