HR departments carry the vast majority of the administrative burden when employees decide to leave. But beyond the usual P45 paperwork, how else do HR departments need to prepare themselves and ensure the necessary processes exist for departing colleagues, while ensuring that company property is returned and regulations are adhered to?
Roger Moore, General Manager at Bond Teamspirit, outlines the ways in which your HR and payroll systems and processes should be geared up to make the processing of a leaver as painless as possible.
Leaver Exit Forms
The leaver exit form is probably the most standard of HR practices for when an employee leaves the business, but typically this source of information is not used to its full advantage. The most logical use of the information would be an analysis for trends within leavers to identify common root causes, however, this is a process which is often forgotten by many. Meaning, regrettably, that opportunities to put policies and processes in place which could help to lower staff attrition rates are missed, as are therefore, the opportunities to reduce spend on recruiting and training new employees.
An example of this is within industries in which there is a culture for employees to move frequently from one company to the next before questions of performance arise, often even returning to the same employer more than once. The disruption and cost this creates is frustrating for employers, but by maintaining accurate leaver information, it can be mitigated as the question of whether an individual has been previously employed by the company, or would be suitable for re-hire, can be verified.
Once a leaver joins a new employer, they will often be required to present payslips from previous places of work. This can be a time consuming task for HR departments, however, implementing an e-payslip system can save the HR team from processing such requests from ex-employees, leaving them free to focus on tasks relating to current employees.
Aside from the well-known benefits of removing the costs of stationary, distribution and associated manpower, ePayslip systems can provide an ex-employee restricted online access to their payroll details for a limited amount of time after their departure date – a self-service approach, even for leavers.
In a similar fashion, leavers may not remember to gather records of the training courses they have attended before joining a new company – documents which are often required as confirmation of claims on application forms and CVs. Again, an online employee self-service module can be used within the HR system in order to remove the burden of administration time from the HR department in finding these documents and dispatching them. This would allow access to be maintained – most likely under different log-in details with vastly restricted access rights – for a number of months so the appropriate documents can be retrieved by the leaver independently.
A standard part of processing a leaver in the final days of their employment is to make sure that company property – IT equipment, mobile phones, clothing, tools etc. – are all returned in good working order. If this is managed through manual processes, then items can be overlooked and lost. However, if managed through an electronic process and synchronised with the payroll activity, then the release of P45 documents, training records and other employment critical documents can be dependent upon the satisfactory completion of the property return process. This in itself can save potentially very high equipment replacement costs.
Even after an employee has left the business, the HR team’s job is not always done. Requests for references from a new employer about a leaver can present a challenge to the HR team when the required records about leavers are not kept or if records are not stored in a format that is easily accessible. An HR system which stores information regarding sickness holidays, past performance, contract arrangements etc. ensures that the information is readily available when new employers ask for references, minimising the effort required from HR teams to produce them.
From reducing the administrative burden of leavers on HR teams, allowing them to do more value added work; to improving staff attrition rates and associated spend; to providing motivation for ex-employees to return company property, having HR and payroll systems and process in place can have a marked effect on the leaver process. The tools and knowhow are available and it is, therefore, up to businesses to capitalise on these valuable opportunities to make the process more efficient and to reduce the impact and associated cost of leavers upon a business.