Offboarding is the set of initiatives put in place by an organisation to support an employee when they leave the company. While companies generally now have a well-defined onboarding process to make the best start of everyone’s time; offboarding is often overlooked. And, in the case of the offboarding of independent IT contractors, the process downright nonexistent in most cases.
However, the IT departments of large companies often call on a multitude of independent consultants. And it is strategic to manage their departure well. Especially since many IT freelancers work on long assignments. Sometimes under management, and they are therefore an integral part of the team in place.
It is very important to take care of the offboarding of an IT consultant, but how do you do it? What actions should be put in place to create an appropriate offboarding process for its IT freelancers? Here are the 7 key steps for a successful offboarding.
Successful offboarding begins with thoughtful communication. When the mission of your independent IT consultant comes to an end; it is important to announce their departure to all the teams involved. It is important to announce it as quickly as possible. Especially to the teams who will be most impacted by its departure. This gives the IT freelancer the feeling of having been fully integrated into the teams in the same way as a permanent employee, as well as the feeling of having been recognized as a full member of the project.
This step allows the contractor’s interlocutors to say goodbye to him or her and create a starting human environment. It is also important to announce the departure of the IT consultant to any external service providers with whom he was in contact.
After communicating the departure of the independent IT consultant, it is important to thank them for the work done. It is also important to highlight their time investment and skills development. Give them frank and constructive feedback so that they can improve in future missions. In most cases, a reference letter will be highly appreciated and will allow the IT freelancer to highlight their collaboration with you to land new assignments.
The freelancer will feel all the more recognized and valued for the work they have done while working for you. Do not hesitate to express your best wishes for the future as well as to have personal attention, the consultant will leave with the feeling of being appreciated.
If your independent IT consultant leaves you to make way for a new consultant or passes the baton to someone in-house, it is crucial to organise the handover so that the freelancer can transmit all key information about their work and on the processes in progress to their replacement.
It may be wise to ask them to write a file with the missions and tasks they have carried out, the best practices, etc. This step of documentation and transfer of skills is essential to ensure a good transition. This also allows the work of the independent IT contractor to be valued.
Organising a final interview or an “exit interview” with your independent IT consultant is very important. This will allow you to know how you are perceived by an outsider who has worked in your company.
Do not hesitate to ask them if they felt welcome; if they had all the access and information necessary to perform their services; if he or her was able to achieve all the objectives they had set for themselves; how they carried out their mission; how this mission will serve them in future projects; if they would recommend your company to other IT professionals; if they would agree to work again on a new mission for you, etc.
This interview with your IT contractor will give you essential information to improve your onboarding and offboarding strategy. It is important to adopt a constructive approach, focused on listening. This interview will be beneficial for the IT freelancer, who will appreciate having been able to express their opinion. IT freelancers talk to each other a lot, and the bad reputation of some client companies can dissuade them from taking an interest in them. If you take the time to value and listen to your IT consultants until the end, they are sure to let their network know.
For successful offboarding, every detail needs to be considered. Before departure, it is important to ensure that the IT freelance employee returns all the material that have been loaned to them (computer, badge, etc.). The most practical strategy is to establish a list of the loaned equipment beforehand, at the time of onboarding. Also, don’t forget to check the material for wear.
Remember to remove all access to accounts of the former IT consultant for all networks, software, resources and collaborative tools of the company to prevent potential risks of cyber hacking or information leaks that could be detrimental to your business. This preparation is important for maintaining safety, preserving the efficiency of the internal organisation and maintaining good working relations.
In order for the IT freelancer to leave your company with confidence, it is also important to close all administrative aspects.
It is advisable to keep in touch with your former IT freelancers. Especially if you want to work with them again later for new missions. In addition, keeping in touch at least via professional social networks with your former independent IT contractors will allow you to access their network of freelancers, which can be very beneficial for you. You will also be able to follow their news on social media and keep you informed of the evolution of their skills as well as their services.
Likewise, it is interesting for the IT freelancer to be part of your network because it represents a form of valuable recommendation for it. Keeping in touch with your IT contractors will also allow you to convey the strong values of your company.
Nowadays there are many tools to deal effectively with offboarding processes. Just like with onboarding, some specialized platforms offer to manage all the tasks related to offboarding in the same place. These solutions make it possible in particular to disconnect the IT consultant with one click from all the company’s resources, to collect their feedback, to take care of the handover, etc.
It may be interesting to discuss with your HR department how you can adapt any existing offboarding processes and tools for internal employees to your external collaborators. And remember: an IT contractor’s offboarding process shouldn’t be overlooked. Just as important as onboarding, a successful and efficient offboarding process should be strategic for your IT department. The independent IT consultant will keep fond memories of your collaboration after their departure and will be sure to spread the word.
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