Guide to offboarding

An employee who leaves their job is a valuable source of insight – and an exit dialogue lets you benefit from their feedback. Read more about how to handle the offboarding process productively and sensitively and use the dialogue guide to help you prepare for and have a good exit dialogue.

👉🏻 Re-assign tasks and start the hand-over process

When an employee leaves, a great deal of knowledge about how many tasks are performed will also disappear, and managers should make a plan to ensure the transfer of job responsibilities and knowledge as soon as possible.

You should make a point of holding regular meetings with the departing employee and the team member(s) who will be taking over their tasks to ensure that the hand-over proceeds according to plan.

💬 Conduct an exit dialogue

Exit dialogues are an appropriate forum for:

  • saying goodbye to your employee formally and properly and allowing them to formally say goodbye to Aarhus University
  • getting new perspectives on your unit's strengths and challenges, as well as your own leadership
  • gaining insight into the skills that will be needed when a replacement is hired – and whether any changes are required to the job description before the position is filled again.

Clarify as early as possible whether it is meaningful for both you and the employee to have the dialogue – and invite as early as possible.

You may find these dialogue frameworks useful: dialogue guide - permanent employee and dialogue guide - temporary employee.

🤝🏻 A good send-off is important

Regardless of the reason, leaving your job and workplace is always a big decision. It’s quite common to hold a social event of some kind on the last day, where close colleagues can say goodbye and extend their good wishes for the future.

If the outgoing employee is unable to attend in person, either because they’re working abroad or working remotely, you should still try to organise a good send-off involving the team – online if necessary.

📑 References

Another good way to end the employment relationship on a positive note is to provide the outgoing employee with a written reference if they ask for one. The primary purpose of the reference is to document the employment relationship and describe your former employee's work responsibilities, competencies and experience. In many cases, it will also be relevant to make a more personal statement and highlight any areas where your employee particularly shines.

There is no statutory requirement that you write a reference/recommendation as a manager. However, note that there are special rules that apply in connection with employees who are dismissed.

Reference – remember informed consent and record-keeping

As an alternative to a written reference, you could offer to be listed as a referee on the employee's CV. 
If you are asked to comment on a former employee as a reference person, you may:  

  • Confirm the employment relationship
  • Verify information provided by the candidate in an application
  • Make a statement on professional and personal competencies, work tasks and results
  • Make a statement on performance and productivity.  

Unless the departing employee has given their consent, you may not disclose information on purely private matters, including political opinions, trade union membership, sexual or criminal matters, as well as information on health matters, significant social issues and substance abuse.

You must then prepare a detailed memo stating that the employee has given consent and describing which information the employee has given their consent for you to disclose. The memo must be filed in the personnel folder.

If a former employee has not notified you about a request for a reference from you, you may not provide any information until after you have contacted the former employee and have confirmed their consent. The former employee may give consent either in writing or orally. If consent is given orally, you must draft a dated memo stating that the former employee has given consent, and which information the employee has consented for you to disclose.

Non-sensitive information may be disclosed to a potential new employer under a general consent, while sensitive or confidential data may only be disclosed with express, specific consent.

💻 Hand in equipment and deactivate system access

The employee probably has equipment belonging to Aarhus University at the workplace and possibly at their home office (PC and other devices, telephone, keys, key card, etc.). Make sure you have a plan for the employee to return it all by their last day at work.

Also make sure that their access to various systems is deactivated (STADS, PowerBI, Blackboard, Syllabus, Workzone, RejsUd, CWT, etc.)

Finally, when academic staff members leave AU, it is important that a decision is made regarding what should happen with research data in the research projects they are responsible for and/or involved in.