Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Case study: when offboarding goes wrong

In a growing business, offboarding is just as important as onboarding. Chris Hope discusses the ways that offboarding can go wrong in this case study.

In this case study, we will examine a fictional example of Karlson Company, a Czech company where the offboarding process went wrong, highlighting the consequences and lessons learned.

Case background

Karlson Company is a well-established Czech retail organisation that had built a strong reputation for its high-quality products and exceptional customer service. However, as the company expanded its operations and opened new locations, it faced difficulties in managing the offboarding process for employees leaving the organisation. This oversight started to impact employee morale and the company’s overall performance.

One particular incident involved a long-term employee, Sarah, who had been with the company for over a decade. Sarah had been a dedicated and loyal employee, but due to personal reasons, she decided to resign from her position. Unfortunately, the offboarding process for Sarah was mishandled, resulting in several negative consequences. These are discussed below.

Lack of communication and support

When Sarah submitted her resignation, there was a lack of communication and support from the management team. She did not receive any guidance or resources to facilitate a smooth transition out of the company. As a result, Sarah felt undervalued and disengaged during her remaining days at the company.

Inadequate knowledge transfer

Sarah had accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise in her role, including valuable insights about customer preferences and operational efficiencies. However, the company failed to facilitate a proper knowledge transfer process, leading to the loss of critical information and leaving her successor ill-prepared to handle the responsibilities effectively.

Negative impact on team morale

Sarah had developed strong relationships with her colleagues over the years, and her sudden departure without a proper offboarding process had a significant impact on team morale. The lack of closure and acknowledgment of Sarah’s contributions left her teammates feeling demotivated and disconnected from the company.

Damage to the company’s reputation

Sarah was well-respected by customers due to her exceptional customer service skills. Her departure without a proper farewell or acknowledgement sent a negative message to loyal customers, leading to a decline in customer satisfaction and a potential loss of business.

Lessons learned and recommendations

The offboarding missteps at Karlson Company highlights the importance of a well-executed offboarding process. To prevent similar issues in the future, the company should consider the following recommendations:

  • Develop a structured offboarding program that includes clear guidelines, communication channels, and resources to support departing employees during their transition.
  • Implement a process to conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gain valuable insights into their experiences and identify areas for improvement within the organisation.
  • Create mechanisms to capture and transfer critical knowledge from departing employees to their successors or relevant team members. This will ensure a smooth transition and minimise disruptions in operations.
  • Provide a proper farewell and recognition for departing employees to show appreciation for their contributions. This can include farewell events, personalised messages, or small tokens of gratitude.
  • Regularly assess the effectiveness of the offboarding process through employee feedback and key performance indicators. Use this feedback to make necessary improvements and continuously enhance the offboarding experience.

Karlson Company’s offboarding missteps with Sarah illustrates why organisations must prioritise the offboarding process. By implementing a well-structured offboarding program, companies can mitigate the negative impact on departing employees, maintain team morale, safeguard their reputation and ensure a smooth transition for both the departing employee and their colleagues.

This article is from the free online

Growth Strategies for a New Business

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now