Date posted: 17/06/2020 5 min read

How to offboard and onboard staff in a remote-working, COVID-19 world

Lay-offs are an unhappy side effect of COVID-19, and firms need to re-examine their offboarding and onboarding processes.

In Brief

  • Firms need to consider the IT implications of their offboarding and onboarding processes.
  • Key steps include freezing account access and leveraging IT automation where possible.
  • It is also important to have proper processes in place to onboard staff to work remotely.

A number of Australian businesses have had to lay off staff as a side effect of COVID-19 lockdowns, and the sad reality is that’s likely to continue.

It is critical that your IT, legal, HR and management teams work together to create a process for executing lay-offs and protecting your IT assets.

You will want to do this upfront, so that you have a clear process with checklists and key stakeholders and can run this process in a smooth and repeatable way.

Any delay in closing email accounts, changing passwords, or revoking access to proprietary platforms and resources by former staff leaves your business open to security breaches.

Key steps for offboarding staff

As part of your offboarding process, you need to promptly reset the accounts of former employees, including:

  • removing their access to email and other systems and internal platforms
  • changing passwords to any company accounts to which they had access
  • notifying relevant teams or points of contact of the personnel change
  • moving billing/usage ownership of the employee’s tools to a new owner
  • redirecting emails and calls to the new employee/point of contact.

Pre-COVID, with workers in centralised locations, this was relatively easy. But the remote-working world we're living in now has broken a lot of traditional IT processes.

Review your software subscriptions

Previously, there was a lot of centralisation with IT. But now, with staff remote working, we're seeing businesses take a much more decentralised and organic approach to managing technology.

A company-wide audit of your SaaS [software-as-as-service] is critical – reviewing all your vendors, identifying key renewals, analysing use and surveying your team to see what they do or don't need.

Ask your team about what apps they're using and how they are using them. This information should give you a solid starting point for optimising your spending.

In the subscription-based economy we now live in, paying for under-utilised apps is pointless but cancelling them prematurely may also create problems down the track.

“In the subscription-based economy we now live in, paying for under-utilised apps is pointless…”

So I suggest that once you have identified applications in your technology stack that are being under-used, consider the likelihood of some of them being needed by new staff and whether you’d be best to cancel them, consolidate them with other technology, or retain them for future use in their own right.

Keep in mind that a business restructure might mean new staff are required in roles that may not exist now.

Onboarding remote workers

As the economy reopens and things begin to improve, you’ll probably be onboarding staff as remote workers. Essentially, you will need to decide who will need access to specific data and how they can be given that access if they are working from home.

You’ll need specific processes in place that allow only approved key stakeholders to approve requests to onboard a new staff member. You’ll also want a template or guidelines in place so stakeholders can easily review what access has been given to whom.

During this pandemic, we’re all operating in a new and fairly complicated world. It’s crucial that IT, legal, HR, and management teams work together so offboarding and onboarding happens smoothly.

Read more:

Desktop or cloud: what delivers better data security?

Cloud-based software can shrink accounting practices’ insurance costs, but it’s not the only data security measure you need.

Read more

Your COVID-19 Resources hub

This dedicated hub is regularly updated to ensure members are equipped to navigate the serious long-term economic and business impacts from this pandemic, including the latest updates on available government packages, guides for your practice or business and support to maintain your mental health and wellbeing.

Read more

Guarding against cyber-attacks while working from home

Remote working will help curb the spread of COVID-19, but firms must also protect their staff from computer-borne viruses.

Read more