Offboarding Staff in Regular Positions
Another important aspect of the work cycle that managers are responsible for is offboarding staff who are leaving Penn or transferring to another area in the University. Staff may voluntarily decide to leave their current position to take a position at another employer or transfer to another position within Penn.
Offboarding staff in an efficient and respectful manner is very important. Remember, if this process is handled appropriately, the departing staff member may become an ambassador for Penn.
Consider these tips when a staff member announces his or her resignation.
Obtain the Resignation in Writing
According to Penn’s Resignation Policy for staff, staff members are expected to submit their resignation in writing. Monthly paid staff should provide at least four weeks advance notice, and weekly paid staff should give at least two weeks advance notice. It is good practice for managers to acknowledge the resignation in writing.
The acknowledgement letter you give the staff member should include:
- Acknowledgement and thanks for the staff member’s contributions to Penn and the department
- Information about calling Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-736-6236 to discuss benefits coverage
- Information on the payment of all unused and accrued Paid Time Off (vacation), if any
Copies of the resignation letter and your acknowledgement letter should be forwarded to the school/center Human Resources professional or the Division of Human Resources Staff and Labor Relations. These letters must be shared with Human Resources Records for inclusion in the staff member’s official personnel file.
You should work with the staff member on a transition plan for his/her remaining time in the position. Things to consider when developing the plan should include:
The staff member should discuss with you and document in writing the status of all projects, assignments, and work in progress. If procedures and vital processes that the staff member is responsible for are not documented in writing, have the staff member complete this before departure.
What critical responsibilities and duties will have to be covered when the staff member leaves? Who will assume these duties? What cross-training and sharing of information needs to occur while the staff member is still employed, and how will this take place? (Note: Documenting important processes and procedures in writing and cross-training staff should be done on a routine basis to facilitate efficient office operations.)
It is important for the departing staff member to transfer all work product (paper and electronic files, notes, letters, contracts, etc.) to you or another designated staff member.
The staff member should also ensure that all contact information for key internal and external colleagues he/she has been working with on University business be shared with you and the staff who will take over the work after their departure.
As part of developing the transition plan, the staff member should document in writing all of the Penn computer systems he/she have access to, such as PennWorks, Payroll, Ben Financials, PTO System, etc.
Work with your Human Resources professional to discuss the process for posting and replacing the position, if applicable.
You should develop and implement a communications plan regarding the staff member’s departure. Things to consider in this plan may include:
How will the staff member’s departure be communicated? What key internal and external contacts need to be informed?
Remember to have ISC place an appropriate message on the work email account the staff member used, such as: “John Doe no longer works at Penn. If you need assistance with a work-related matter, please contact …” A similar voicemail should be placed on the work phone(s) the staff member used.
Who will update any departmental, school, or center website where the staff member’s contact information appears?
Recognition of Staff Member’s Contributions
How will the department recognize the staff member’s contributions? Some suggestions may include a department lunch or reception. What opportunities will there be for the team members and other colleagues to say goodbye?
Some departments, schools, and centers have an exit interview process. Consult with your school/center Human Resources professional about the process.Ensure that the staff member has an opportunity to do an exit interview.
If your department, school or center does not have an exit interview process, you or your designee can also conduct an exit interview with the staff member. Consult with the Division of Human Resources Staff and Labor Relations (215-898-6093) on this process. Also refer to the these Exit Interview Guidelines and Sample Questions. You may request the Division of Human Resources Staff and Labor Relations to do an exit interview.
Collecting University Property
Before the staff member’s departure, you or a designee must collectall Penn keys, PennID card, flash drives, computers, work product, Purchasing and other University-sponsored credit cards, and all other University property in his/her possession.
Turning off Access to Penn Systems
You or a designee should ensure that the staff member’s access to Penn systems, e.g., email, Payroll, Ben Financials, etc., is terminated. See the Termination Checklist at for more information.
Updating PennWorks/Payroll and other Penn Systems
You or the departmental Business Administrator must ensure that the staff member’s Payroll record is appropriately updated promptly and that the appropriate Paid Time Off payment is processed.
If the department used the University’s PTO Management System to track the staff member’s time balances (for exempt staff only), the PTO Org Administrator should take the appropriate steps to manage the departing staff member’s record in the system.
You must consult with your school/center Human Resources professional or the Division of Human Resources Staff and Labor Relations (215-898-6093) prior to terminating a staff member’s employment. The Human Resources professional will advise you on the termination letter and other appropriate policies and procedures. A copy of the termination letter must be sent to your school/center Human Resources professional or the Division of Human Resources Staff and Labor Relations for inclusion in the staff member’s official personnel file.
You must develop a transition plan to handle the duties and responsibilities of the departing staff member. Consider some of the strategies articulated in the Transition Plan section under Voluntary Resignations. You should take time while the staff member is still working to obtain updates on work in progress, cross-train other staff on vital functions, and have important procedures and processes documented in writing.
Work with your Human Resources professional to discuss the process for posting and placing the position, if applicable.
Remember not to share confidential employment decisions with those who do not have a need to know this information. Consider the strategies outlined in the Communications section under Voluntary Resignations when developing and implementing the communications plan.
Also, follow the steps outlined above in the Collecting University Property, Turning off Access to Penn Systems, and Updating PennWorks/Payroll and other Penn Systems sections under Voluntary Resignations.