What’s the Opposite of Onboarding?

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For almost every person going through the onboarding process, there is a person who has quit, will quit, or was fired. People leave and get fired for a multitude of reasons, and unfortunately it is not always professional. Honestly, I’m sure every boss has had that one employee they did not like, and every employee has an employer they did not like. It’s fine to not like someone, but it is important for a business and employee to be professional about an exit.

There are two sides to every story. We will start out with how to be professional when leaving a job. Forbes has a really great list of what you should do from before you quit until after you have left. The overarching theme in this list is to behave like you still have the job. Do not slack off, make sure your managers are in the know of what you are doing. They should know before anyone else that you are leaving the company.

“Determine your ‘story.’ Think through how you will explain your departure to your manager and coworkers. Whatever reasons you provide, keep your story consistent and keep your reasons positive, not negative.” When you do tell your manager, the conversation should be kept light but honest. This can sometimes be tricky if there is a bad relationship between the two people, but you can never hope to get a letter of recommendation or even use them on your resume if you burn bridges. It does no one any good if you let loose on your employer.

In terms of actually quitting, it is generally accepted to give a two-week written notice, but an employer does not have to keep you on for that time. Sometimes your resignation could mean immediate dismissal from the premises, but like I said earlier, keep things professional. If you are asked to pack up and leave, just do it, dwelling only creates more problems for both parties. Don’t be that employee who threw the stapler on their last day. If you are asked to leave, then you kind of get a mini vacation in between jobs, or you can contact your new employer explaining the situation, maybe you can start earlier.

Either way, keep it civil at the least. The same goes for the employer.

As an employer, it can be hard to lose any employee because of the amount of effort that goes into hiring, but that is never a reason to take out your frustrations on the employee.

Congratulate the employee, offer put in a good word with the new employer, help them train their replacement, and be supportive in their last few days. If an employee stops working as hard as they used to, keep them motivated.

If there is a policy that requires an employee to leave immediately after quitting, escort them out, help them pack up their belongings in a non-pushy way. Ask if there is anything they need before they go. It can be quite embarrassing if they need to be lead off the premises, so try to make it as painless as possible by escorting them.

After an employee has left, you should not badmouth them or reveal personal information about them. It is important to let their coworkers know that the person has left. Keep it professional and set the example for your other employees by explaining that they have received a new opportunity and that the separation was clean and professional. If your other employees see that you handle the separation poorly, it would affect how they feel about management.

On the other side of things, sometimes an employer has to terminate an employee. It is known that mass lay-offs reduce morale and can create a tense environment, so it is important to make sure employees feel like their jobs are not at stake. As a boss, sometimes it is hard to see things from an employee point of view, so try to remember a time when you were an employee. If your friends were laid off, you’d wonder why and who’s next. Put their minds at east, let them know why you had to let that person go and squelch any rumors that may be going around about lay-offs.

At the end of the day, handle your professional life professionally.