A recent study from LinkedIn shows  that millennials will have four jobs in their first decade in the workforce. At the same time, 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age each day. Between job hopping among younger workers and retirement for veteran employees, most companies are battling a skill shortage.

When employees leave the company their knowledge, process expertise and insider information leave with them. That’s why effective offboarding programs are more important than ever. Yet, industry research shows that less than a third of companies have formal offboarding programs in place.

Offboarding can benefit a company in multiple ways. A successful offboarding program:

  • Creates more loyal alumni. Offboarding programs that highlight and celebrate an employee’s contributions to the company ensure that those employees leave feeling valued and recognized for their efforts. Alumni who have a positive relationship with the company are more likely to return as employees later in their career, become a client or partner, or refer friends and associates for open positions.
  • Significantly reduces the cost of onboarding in terms of time and money. 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.  With a smoother and shorter ramp-up time, new employees can make positive impacts on the company more quickly.
  • Gives direction and focus to exiting employees. Often when an employee gives their resignation, management immediately re-assigns critical tasks and projects away from that employee. This may be done to protect company assets, or simply because management feels that the employee will “check out.” But, an organized process for offboarding can give that employee the critical direction and structure required to maintain a high level of productivity in their final weeks with the company.

More than 70 percent of companies have little-to-no formal offboarding process, and therefore need guidance in developing these programs. When creating an offboarding program for your company, it is important to keep these four factors in mind:

1. Capture knowledge ahead of time. One of the most important aspects of a good offboarding program is timing.  Learning officers need to encourage subject matter experts to document and share knowledge and processes on an ongoing basis, not after they have submitted their resignation. This approach ensures information is shared when it is freshest, and that employees are imparting knowledge when they are most engaged. Studies show that people learn best through a combination of visuals  and audio, so, short stories and successful best practices delivered in secure, enterprise class video platforms are most valuable for training new employees.

2. Create Learning Paths. Learning paths are generally short, sequenced training videos that walk new employees through processes and information required to become proficient in a specific skill set or process more quickly. With user-friendly, secure, and simple to share video technology, learning officers can empower subject matter experts to create and publish their own learning paths.

3. Incentivize the Sharing of Soft Knowledge, Shortcuts and Solutions. This is the type of information veteran employees use to make smart decisions, work more quickly, complete processes on time and anticipate challenges, and it is not necessarily the hard data, product knowledge or technology know-how that might be documented in other places. Successful offboarding programs use cash bonuses to incentivize long-time employees to document this insider information – either in video, notes, or spreadsheets.

4. Enable Global and Mobile Knowledge Sharing. For many large companies a job function once handled by an employee in the Chicago office may need to be performed in the London or Tokyo office next month.  While it is not practical to fly an exiting employee around the globe to train colleagues, it is much simpler and cost-effective to securely share content and video to any location in the world, online or offline, and on mobile devices. Learning officers should encourage offboarding employees to make content short, relevant and easily digestible for increased usability anywhere in the world, on any device.

While onboarding gets most of the attention from the training industry, it is offboarding that can have the biggest impact on the quality and success of the content shared with new employees.