When Trying To Do More With Less, Don’t Forget Milton… And Your TPS Report

“And I said, I don’t care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting, I’m going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they’ve moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it’s not okay because if they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire…”
– Milton Waddams, Office Space

Since it’s mediocre premier in 1999, the cult classic ‘Office Space’ has occupied a special place in the imaginations of unmotivated white collar workers everywhere. From the biting critique of workplace culture, corporate slogans, buzzword wielding consultant, smarmy managers and unnecessary reports that never get questioned or read, after fifteen years the movie still hasn’t lost its cultural relevancy.
The film can also be viewed as essentially a case study for what can go wrong if you have a broken off boarding process. If you’re not familiar with the character Milton Waddams, he’s a mumbling-ruddy face-stapler wielding employee of the generic Initech software, who was laid off years earlier but never informed, and due to a glitch in the pay-rolling system, continued to get paid.
I don’t want to spoil the film for those of you who’ve yet had the pleasure (it’s currently available on both the Australian and American versions of Netflix) but they decide that if they just stop paying Milton and take away his stapler, everything else should work itself out. Sure it will. 


All employees will move on eventually

The fact remains that no matter how awesome your culture is, all employees will move on eventually.  The problem for HR is how suddenly a resignation letter can be handed in, and coping when things go Miltonesque. Luckily, you don’t need a huge HR team to do it well.
If you automate your off boarding, the whole process can be done in a matter of hours by one HR team member – with a little help from IT and payroll.
The trick is to sit down before employees leave and write out your employee offboarding checklist.

When you offboard employees, do you:


  • Manage the employee’s departure from the business legally?
  • Recover company assets?
  • Revoke systems access?
  • Engage the employee in an alumni program?
  • Allow them to keep their staplers?

If not, your checklist might be missing a few important steps, which may open you up to some serious Milton level headaches later on down the track. No-one wants to deal with security breaches or legal disputes if they can be easily avoided.
To help you out, check out these  10 steps that will make your employee offboarding process easy and stress-free, every time.
And remember, don’t forget to put one of the new cover sheets on the TPS reports. If you forget, I can send you a copy of the memo.

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