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How to establish a Contractor Offboarding Process

Learn how to offboard contractors to maintain your employer's reputation. CEO for Asia Pacific at Hays, Matthew Dickason, shares the latest advice for businesses using contractors.

What does offboarding mean? 

Offboarding means the process of transitioning employees out of the company. Having a smooth and effective onboarding and offboarding process is key for ensuring a positive employee experience. 
Our key insights for ending your time with a contractor include: 
  • Contractor offboarding is a leaky bucket of intellectual property for many businesses. You must have a process for revoking access to company data. 
  • Many organisations have a thorough process for offboarding employees, but fail to offboard contractors properly. 
  • Structured communication and feedback can help businesses improve knowledge transfer and the recovery of as much information as possible. 
  • Hays can help you build an offboarding process that saves you time and money.
Read on to learn the pitfalls of contractor offboarding and how to create a contractor offboarding plan. 

Your organisation can lose resources to poor contractor offboarding

Organisations use contractors to complete specific work or to assist with a large project. Though their lifecycle at a company is often short, it’s nearly always vital.
More organisations are using non-permanent workers as the global economy remains uncertain and digital collaboration becomes easier. Therefore it’s becoming increasingly important for organisations to rethink their internal processes for new starters. One of the most overlooked is the most crucial; offboarding.

Offboarding contractors differently to full-time employees is dangerous for your business

You face potentially severe asset loss and legal and security threats when you improperly offboard staff. Without a formalised offboarding process, you also expose yourself to a potentially sour reputation among temporary and contracting staff.
What contractors say and do after leaving your company will impact your ability to hire future contractors. Contractors share their experiences on online forums, freelancer marketplaces and social media networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Online forums are also the first place that other contractors go to research future employers before taking on a project.
Do not treat your contractors any differently from your permanent recruits regarding your employee offboarding process. Give them the recognition and feedback opportunities they deserve as you would for a permanent recruit.

How to ensure your contractors complete a successful offboarding process

Use structured communication to show your appreciation and champion your company culture

When a contractor nears the end of their contract, let people know about their upcoming departure. Inform everyone as you would for a permanent employee, not just the 'right parts' of IT and HR. As part of this, remind people about the work they have completed and publicly thank them.
By letting colleagues know about their departure, staff have time to share contact details and connect on LinkedIn. This way, contractors are never far away should someone in your organisation need their expertise again. Your team members will also have time to extract all the knowledge, expertise and skills they need from the contractor.
Finally, make contractors feel appreciated. A contractor's last day shouldn't pass without recognition or thanks for their contributions. They may not feel the need to offer your company any future loyalty if you forget them. Organising a simple card, leaving lunch, or a small gift will make them feel valued.

Ask for feedback to improve your offboarding experience

Conducting an exit interview is your opportunity to get an insight into working at your company. As they are departing the organisation, it's likely they will share more objective areas for improvement. Contractors will also have a more informed view of the external market, where you battle for talent daily.
Prepare several questions and use the answers to help build and improve. For example:
  • Was the company welcoming and did they feel able to integrate into the culture?
  • Did they achieve everything that they hoped to accomplish during their assignment? If not, why?
  • How much has this contract enhanced their future employability?
  • Would they return to the company if you offered the right role?
  • Would they recommend you as an employer?
  • Are there any areas where they feel your organisation could have improved their experience?
Feedback forms and exit interviews are also a great time to recover any company assets and close out any final expenses.

Ask if your contractor would like to stay connected

Don't assume your contractor will return at the drop of a hat. Contractors are in control of where they go next. Take the time to let them know about the likelihood of future roles and support them with introductions to valuable connections where possible. 
If you do connect with contractors, complete this checklist: 
  • Add contractors on their professional social profiles, for alumni job adverts. 
  • Endorse your offboarded contractors for any skills and achievements you've witnessed during their time at your company. 
  • Provide a detailed reference and constructive feedback - ideally via the recruiter who placed them. 
Don't fall at the last hurdle. You'll damage your relationship by rushing a contractor out of the door when they finish their assignment. Take your time, listen to their feedback, and you'll uncover a host of other benefits and opportunities too.

Contractor management and offboarding process: Next steps for your business

Speak to your team to evaluate your current contractor onboarding process. If you feel it needs improving, Hays can help. Discuss your contractor management with one of our experts by emailing Hays on our contact page.
You can also read about our contractor employer services here.

Learn more about contractor management and offboarding 



Matthew Dickason
CEO, Asia Pacific, Hays

Matthew joined Hays in 2005 and leads Hays' recruitment business across the Asia Pacific region. His experience working for Hays for the past 20 years means he's perfectly placed to realise his passion of cultivating a diverse talent network where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. 

Prior to joining Hays, Matthew worked within Engineering, Research, Operations and Commercial areas at Johnson Matthey and Corning Inc. He has formal qualifications in Organisational Psychology and Industrial Engineering.