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Transitioning & Offboarding

When an employee separates from your team, it’s a change for the employee, the manager, and others on the team.

As a manager, you can take a few steps to help the transition go smoothly for everyone involved, to maintain effective operations and to demonstrate the employee’s value to the team. This is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic while the University is limiting recruitment activities to positions directly supporting students on-site, positions that support approved research, clinical support positions such as RNs, LPNs, therapists, pharmacists, ambulatory technicians and other ancillary support positions.

If the position is approved for filling during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll want to begin the recruiting process right away so you can get back to having a full team as soon as possible.

Transitioning work

As soon as you are aware an employee is separating from the team, begin to work with them on a transition plan detailing key responsibilities, status and timelines. This helps you plan for how their work will be accomplished when they leave. Notify others who may be assisting with covering the responsibilities, and have the person who’s departing and the person who’s covering begin working together on the transition as soon as possible.

For the remainder of the employees’ time, shift their responsibilities as much as possible so they can focus on documenting and transitioning their work, and finishing projects and work that is close to milestones or completion.

Separating with a sense of value and connection

Your employee has dedicated their skills, expertise, time, and energy to your team and to the University of Rochester. As they leave your team – and perhaps the University – consider how to celebrate them and their contributions.

Each employee may prefer something different, so ask them how they’d like to be acknowledged. Some may simply like a card from co-workers, others may like bagels with the team, and others may like a party. While we’re socially distancing, be creative – perhaps a Zoom going-away party, a PowerPoint with messages and pictures, or a compilation of video messages.

It’s also important to consider consistency within your team and with other teams, so you may want to set some broad guidelines (such as a dollar amount, or certain types of celebrations for certain years of service, etc.) and then make it known that people can decide how they want to be acknowledged within those guidelines.


Use the Exit Checklist to ensure each step is taken to fully exit a person from your team and/or the University. Exit interviews offer a great opportunity for insight into what’s working well on your team and where there might be opportunity for improvement.

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