Thanks to the economic downturn and rising interest rates, leading financial industry stalwarts such as Accenture, BlackRock, BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, and PayPal have already laid off hundreds or thousands of employees. And these are just the big names; banks, credit unions, insurers, and private equity firms of all sizes worldwide are carefully reviewing their headcount and trimming their workforce in order to stay competitive.
This brings into focus an often-overlooked process: employee offboarding. While most businesses have a well-planned process for onboarding, offboarding is often more ad hoc and fraught. But as the financial industry continues to deal with layoffs and high turnover, it’s critical to understand the challenges of a poor offboarding process.
Understanding the offboarding risks
Just as onboarding is the process of giving a new employee the tools and access they need to start their new job, offboarding is the process of unwinding the employee relationship. For HR, this means doing things like taking the employee off payroll and removing the employee from the company’s health plan. Facilities and operations teams might need to revoke building access and reformat the employee’s computer. And IT teams might need to redirect the employee’s email to a colleague and remove access to the network and cloud services.
As you can see, the offboarding process has many steps, and in many ways is even more complex than the onboarding process. Here’s why: when an employee starts, you have an exact checklist of all the equipment, technology, and digital access that you provide them. But think about an employee that’s been working for you for many years. As they’ve been promoted or moved to different departments, they’ve likely gained access to all sorts of systems they didn’t have before. Unless you’re keeping careful track, it can be time-consuming and difficult to know what they have access to so you can disable their accounts.
And that’s just the typical offboarding process when a single employee quits or gets fired. If you have to lay off 5,000 people today, it’s a race against the clock to effectively offboard all those immediately. If you don’t, you risk:
- Security breaches: A disgruntled ex-employee that has access to sensitive systems can leave your organization vulnerable to data breaches, corporate espionage, leaks of internal communications to the press or on social media, or theft from customer accounts.
- Compliance issues: If you don’t offboard employees effectively, it can result in non-compliance with regulatory standards, putting your organization at risk of fines.
- Lost productivity: A time-consuming, inefficient offboarding process can tie up IT, HR, operations, facilities, and legal teams for weeks, distracting them from their core responsibilities at a time when they need to focus on the future of the business, not wrapping up the past.
Financial industry businesses have access to a level of customer information that few other businesses possess, including bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, tax info, credit card numbers, and personal information. In addition, internal documents can contain sensitive information about intellectual property, company strategy, and proprietary financial data. Should an ex-employee access or share any of this data, it would cause incalculable damage to your brand, your competitive positioning, and your relationship with regulators and shareholders.
The benefits of an automated offboarding process
By leveraging IT automation, you can ensure that a significant number of your offboarding tasks are taken care of quickly, accurately, and at scale. Automating the offboarding process allows you to reduce the manual effort required by IT, HR, and other departments so they can focus on answering questions, providing support, and helping the remaining employees pick up the slack.
At the same time, automation helps ensure that access to data, systems, and physical locations is revoked promptly and completely, reducing security risks or the threat of falling out of compliance. Here are just a few ways that IT automation can be used to simplify and streamline the employee offboarding process:
Use automation to find and revoke all access to company systems, applications, and accounts. Automation can also trigger the process to remotely wipe company-owned devices such as laptops and smartphones so that the next person to use it doesn’t access data they shouldn’t. Automated reports and audits create a paper trail of the access rights, software licenses, and hardware an employee uses throughout their tenure to help IT ensure all access is revoked.
Send an automated packet of information to the departing employee to provide information about their final paycheck, when their health benefits expire, and any necessary paperwork they need to complete. Automation can also update the human resource management (HRM) platform to update the employee’s status and archive their information.
Automatically deactivating building access cards ensures an ex-employee can’t access a restricted area. Automation can also schedule the operations team to collect company devices, clear the vacated workspace, and prepare the space for a new employee if needed.
By automatically ensuring that the employee has been properly offboarded, the legal department can keep the organization compliant with data privacy regulations, along with any requirements for storing and disposing of employee information. Legal can also automatically be notified if there are any contractual obligations related to the departing employee, such as payouts, non-compete clauses, non-disclosure agreements, or intellectual property rights transfers.
The most effective automated offboarding process is one that works across the organization to coordinate departments. By removing silos from the offboarding process, it can help you ensure an efficient, secure, and seamless experience for both you and the departing employee.
Learn how Resolve can help financial institutions leverage purpose-built intelligent automation to streamline the offboarding process to mitigate risk and stay compliant. Request a demo today.