International leader in optics
ZEISS has been providing solutions in the field of optics and opto-electronics for more than 170 years. They are a global leader in their field and develop technological innovations for the semiconductor, automotive and mechanical industries. ZEISS products are also used in biomedical research and medical technology as well as in spectacle, camera and cinematography lenses, binoculars and planetarium systems.
ZEISS has more than 33,000 employees worldwide, of whom 150 work in the Benelux countries.
In 2016, the organisation started using the Appical platform for the onboarding of new hires. This case however, explores the end of an employment relationship: the offboarding. Again, the Appical platform plays an important role. Sasja Luijk, HR Manager Benelux, shows us what a good offboarding process at ZEISS looks like.
A structured offboarding experience
“Our offboarding at ZEISS lacked structure, specifically the exit interviews. We had a form with questions, but the entire process – from the moment someone would indicate they were leaving until their last day at work – was not very structured.”
To improve the offboarding process, we started with a number of important questions:
- Who is responsible for the entire process, the supervisor or HR?
- What can we learn from the departing employee?
- How can we get honest and open feedback?
- Are all departing employees required to give feedback?
The team from ZEISS decided to include all our departing employees in the offboarding process; even those employees who leave on a less than voluntary basis can also provide valuable feedback.
“We felt it was important to get feedback about our culture, development opportunities, the supervisor/management, the working conditions and about employee benefits.“
The team responsible for the offboarding program carefully looked at the topics that should always be discussed. Those are topics that we in our role can actively change, based on the feedback received, to improve the employee retention rate.
Welcome to the Offboarding app
The ZEISS Offboarding app contains a personal offboarding journey for each employee. The start screen immediately shows you how far along the process you are, and which elements (stories) you still have to complete.
Offboarding: Step by step
The offboarding app comprises a number of sections or blocks, so that a departing employee is not inundated with all the information at once. They can simply log in whenever they want and continue their offboarding journey.
Important part of the offboarding process at ZEISS is gathering honest feedback. Departing employees use the app to complete their offboarding program at any given time or place. The app allows departing employees to complete the questionaire and give feedback at home or while communting, so their is more time and headspace to reflect on the questions. The questions can be adjusted depending on the location, position or team.
By using the option to create an additional feedback field to provide feedback about topics that are not already preselected. This results in more detailed information that the team uses to improve the employee experience and employee retention rate.
Why did you decide on a digital tool?
“The advantage of the Appical app is that the employees can give their feedback at any time during the offboarding process,” says Luijk. “The result is that we get more extensive feedback than during one exit interview. An exit interview still forms a part of the offboarding process, but it no longer specifically focuses on getting feedback.”
One important option in the offboarding app is that the employees can add an additional feedback field, in which they can discuss other issues than the themes that we had added. We see that many departing ZEISS employees make use of this option. The app also allows us to send employees an automatic reminder if they have not yet submitted their feedback.
The app also contains an offboarding checklist, with items such as returning company property, scheduling an exit interview and transferring knowledge and tasks. Luijk: “Of course we also communicate this information in person, but we see that the power of repetition with the app works really well, and it also makes the process more effortless for HR and managers since automatic reminders can be embedded in the app.”
What are the benefits of offboarding?
The first benefit for ZEISS was that the entire process is clear for all the stakeholders and all the roles and responsibilities are defined.
“The most common feedback is that people feel that it is super easy to give feedback via the app,” says Luijk. “Filling in the information is quick and easy, and they appreciate the option of adding an extra field.”
If they have more time to give their feedback, and employees can do it at a time that suits them, this results in more and more honest feedback. “The offboarding process as we have it now, provides us with valuable information to implement future improvements.”
The next steps
The HR team at ZEISS continues to work on the offboarding process in the app, to make it even more personalised. There is an option to have the app show a personal thank-you message from the team or the supervisor after an employee submits his/her feedback.
“We now send them a general thank-you on behalf of HR/the organisation, but Appical allows you to add a team photograph or video and personalised text. Our goal is to offer each departing employee a personalised experience,” says Luijk.
Supporting an innovative and digital culture at Euler Hermes