Leadership Insights


Off-boarding and Onboarding

Why saying farewell is as important as saying hello.

Off-boarding is just an important as onboarding, but what does it look like to truly off-board? Last month, we celebrated our team member Kait as she transitioned into another organization. Kait came on board just 18 months ago to help us set processes and structures in place to continue adding high-quality programs and sound processes for our clients.

What I recall about Kait when she came on board was equally important as what I recall about sending Kait off. It made me think about just what we are doing to celebrate and honor the contributions of our employees while they’re with us. So much focus is on onboarding, but what does it look like to truly off-board?

Here are three ways we chose to celebrate Kait as she continues to do her life’s work and serve others: 

  1. Be intentional about the design. Dedicate time and space to pause, reflect, and honor your team member. In our case, we chose a new, fun restaurant with a great atmosphere that set the tone for wishing her well.

  2. Let them hear you. Closure is essential for both the employee and the team. I chose to set our team up by posing the simple question, “What do you most appreciate about Kait and what she was able to bring to the team – both personally and professionally?” It allowed us to share our voice and for her to truly hear her importance and the difference she made to us and our clients. And she shared the importance of us in her life. Is there any more fabulous gift during departure than to say a genuine “thank you” to each other?

  3. Make it matter. So much time is placed on how we welcome new employees, and not enough time is spent on sending them off in style. It doesn’t have to be an extensive amount of time or in a restaurant – it can be over coffee, during a picnic, or taking 30 minutes to go outside. Make the time, place, and space serve to make it matter.

It’s essential that everyone has the chance to express themselves through their work, and everyone must know how much they mean to their peers and the organization and how they matter. It’s on us as leaders to create these precious moments.

Be creative.
Be intentional.
Be purposeful.
Be memorable.