Automating the employee offboarding experience

  • Paul Davies
  • Now on Now
  • Solutions
  • 2022
May 18, 2022

Offboarding: Woman using smartphone outside against cityscape at dusk

For the past year, the unprecedented movement of workers leaving jobs and switching career paths (aka the Great Reshuffle), has been top of mind for most organizations. Although losing talent is largely inevitable and a natural part of any company’s ongoing evolution, many organizations are recognizing the velocity of employee exits as one of the greatest risks they face today. 

To assess your organization’s risk, answer these questions:

  1. Does IT deactivate an employee’s user credentials but miss local logins or other sensitive systems, leaving the organization wide open to unauthorized access?
  2. Can an employee exfiltrate company secrets on their way out?
  3. Are final paychecks paid accurately and on time?
  4. Are laptops recovered from exiting employees in a timely manner and restored appropriately?

At ServiceNow, we identified offboarding as an opportunity for improvement. A patchwork of manual processes involving multiple teams and multiple handoffs exposed us to risk. We saw that the offboarding process could be automated across the enterprise. Taking it a step further, we wanted to deliver an offboarding experience as good as the onboarding one and address the needs of both remote and in-office employees.

Simplifying offboarding

For us, the employee journey is a series of moments that matter. We invest heavily in our employee onboarding, ramp-up period, and training and development. But we hadn’t made an employee’s last weeks at the company as constructive and meaningful as their first.

Our people team collaborated with our digital technology (DT) team to design the ServiceNow offboarding experience and automate the entire process for our departing employees, their manager, and supporting team members.

ServiceNow offboarding metrics: 73% decrease in cost per offboard since adoption; 70% decrease in offboarding time since adoption - projected estimates


The people team can now centrally track tasks, helping to ensure nothing is missed. DT, finance, security, and workplace services receive the information they need when they need it. The employee, their data, and ServiceNow all remain secure and protected.

We created the process to be as easy and frictionless as possible, whether the employee is on-site or remote. Automation makes a complicated process across functions easy and intuitive, ensuring the right people receive the right offboarding notifications at the right time while keeping the employee’s data secure.

For example, an employee confirms their personal details, including their preferred method for returning their computer equipment and receiving their final paycheck. Managers no longer need to collect information and documentation and confirm offboard details via email. The information is automatically updated in the appropriate systems of record. 

Providing a consistent experience was important to us. We use our HR Service Delivery solution out of the box to deliver a uniform global experience regardless of: 

  • Role – manager or individual contributor 

  • Location – US, Germany, Japan, or elsewhere 

  • Workplace – remote, office, or flexible 

Workflows trigger specific tasks, depending on the departing employee’s country of work and worker-specific details. For example, we provide e-signature software for signature validation across the globe but can also share country-specific exit documentation as needed.

Employees with mobile numbers can opt to keep or cancel the mobile number; their info is automatically sent to our mobility team. Remote employees may have different tasks than those located on-site, but the experience is the same.  

Building a positive end-to-end experience

We centrally measure and track offboarding data. Based on our initial projections, we expect to see a 70% decrease in offboarding time and a 73% drop in cost per offboard. These positive results are primarily due to the reduction and elimination of manual tasks involved in the exit process.

All system access is now automatically removed on the employee’s last day of work. Addresses for final paychecks are automatically updated instead of requiring a manual cut and paste. Managers have transparency into all offboarding tasks, avoiding confusion. 

With our new offboarding experience, employees, managers, and the people team can take care of basic tasks and focus on what really matters during an employee’s last weeks with us.


One of my favorite stories about the impact of offboarding occurred the day of our internal launch. Before we had even communicated availability of the offboarding experience, six exits had been initiated with no help at all. That’s an intuitive user experience.

The hiring landscape is exceptionally competitive. Although no organization wants to lose employees, people switch careers, go back to school, take time for themselves and their families, and retire. We want employees to leave with a positive experience as they transition to what’s next in their lives. 

With our new offboarding experience, employees, managers, and the people team can take care of basic tasks and focus on what really matters during an employee’s last weeks with us. 

Learn more at the Knowledge Digital Experience. Registration is free after selecting your time zone. Once logged in, visit the Library and search for:

  • Now on Now: Using the CHRO Dashboard to make the best decisions for our people (SES1267)
  • Now on Now: Safe, agile, and convenient: Our new world of work (SES1269)

© 2022 ServiceNow, Inc. All rights reserved. ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Topics

  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): business man looking at phone while standing on bridge overlooking a city
    IT Management
    How the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) truly supports business
    The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) delivery model can help IT leaders manage the transition from a stability-focused to a continuously evolving infrastructure.
  • The role of the manager: a manager and employee in conversation on a couch
    Employee Experience
    4 ways Manager Hub simplifies the role of the manager
    As the connective tissue between an organization and its employees, the role of the manager is more complex, and more important, than ever before. Learn more.
  • How delivery giant Yamato uses data science: uniformed Yamato delivery worker
    Customer Stories
    Delivery giant Yamato uses data science to drive growth
    Maintaining operational excellence while dealing with a surge in orders is a key pillar of Yamato’s digitization strategy—one that relies on data science.

Trends & Research

  • Total experience companies outperform: prism refraction with an arrow pointing to the right
    Employee Experience
    Survey says: Total experience-focused companies outperform
  • Customer service: smiling businessman on phone walking outdoors
    Customer Experience
    Survey: 3 tips to deliver world-class customer service
  • Enterprise SRE (site reliability engineering): where service reliability and business agility meet
    Application Development
    Service quality and the rising need for enterprise SRE

Year