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Off-Boarding

An effective and consistent off-boarding process plays an important role in protecting the interests of both Northwestern and the exiting employee. When a staff member decides to resign or retire from Northwestern, there are steps that they and their manager need to take to ensure a smooth transition.

When a manager receives notice that a staff member is departing, he or she should develop a plan to ensure that all applicable steps of the termination checklist (see below) are carried out so that nothing is missed in the off-boarding. Being diligent about off-boarding departing staff is a way of expressing appreciation for their service and helps to maintain them as ambassadors for the University.

Staff members are expected to provide their manager with written notice of their decision to resign or retire*. A two week notice is customary for staff members in non-exempt roles and a one month notice for those in exempt roles. Departing staff members should work with their manager to bring tasks or projects on which they are working to a clear end point. They must also return any university property (including their Wildcard) in their possession no later than their last day of work and update their timecard in Kronos. Staff members may also be asked to apply an out of office messages to their Northwestern email account and/or voicemail so that the flow of work is minimally impacted once they’ve departed.

For information about continuation of benefits once a staff member’s employment has terminated, please visit the Benefits for Terminated Employees and COBRA web page. 

*Retiring staff members should refer to the Benefit Program Information for Retirees guide for information on initiating the retirement process.  Managers need to ensure that all applicable steps of the termination checklist are carried out when staff members retire.

Please note, this section on off-boarding does not apply to staff who transfer between roles within Northwestern University.

Employment termination checklist

The Employment Termination Checklist may be used by departments when an employee leaves Northwestern (either voluntarily or involuntarily) or transfers to another department to ensure that Northwestern property is returned and systems security is updated, and that the employee has a smooth transition.

Exit interviews

Staff members may complete an exit interview prior to their departure from the University. Interested staff members should contact their Human Resources Business Partner to schedule the exit interview at the time they submit their resignation in writing to their supervisor.

Non-renewal of appointment letter for research staff

If the employee who is leaving is a research staff member whose appointment is ending and it is not being renewed, you will also want to work with your Department/ Business Administrator to provide the employee with the Research Staff Non-Renewal Letter.

Tracking postdoctoral fellows

If the employee who is leaving is a Postdoctoral Fellow, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) strongly encourages postdoctoral fellows, their faculty advisors and/or department administrators to complete this brief online exit survey prior to the postdoctoral fellow’s departure from Northwestern. The OPA can assist with the collection of information that will assist faculty with tracking of postdoctoral fellows as they progress through their careers, and utilize the information for future enhancements of the postdoctoral training experience for faculty and postdoctoral fellows.

Temporary employees

You may choose to terminate a temporary employee at any time. Once the decision has been made, you should notify the Temporary Staffing Center with an end date and they will handle several of the key off-boarding steps for you. See Hiring Temporary Staff for more information.