Employee lifecycle and offboarding

The employee lifecycle includes; attraction; recruitment; onboarding;  retention; development; and offboarding. 

Employee lifecycle and offboarding

Employee lifecycle

As many of those in the screen industries work on fixed term contracts there isn’t always the opportunity to implement longer, more formal people processes that would usually happen in permanent employment.

A key issue for freelancers is the absence of performance feedback.

This can often mean that individuals move from role to role, and between various companies, without ever learning if they are performing well. If they are not, they do not have the chance to learn and develop their skills, which in turn might facilitate a clear route for career progression.

This feedback template will explain the importance of feedback at work, best practice in how to give and receive feedback, and provides useable resources to help facilitate these difficult conversations, especially when you don’t have the support of an HR team.

Find training about having difficult conversations at work in unscripted TV here.


'Offboarding’ is important as it allows for an employee’s responsibilities to be transferred to someone else, where they are being replaced or followed by someone in the same role. The employee has an opportunity to give the employer valuable feedback that can help shape change at their organisation or on their production, and can be a good opportunity to say thank you to someone for their contribution.

Exit interviews

An exit interview is an opportunity for a leaving employee (whether they have resigned, or a fixed term contract has ended) to give the employer feedback on their time with the organisation or on the production.

Its purpose is for the company or production to learn about areas where they can improve in terms of processes, management and work culture. Employees will often be more forthcoming about issues when they are leaving an organisation.

It’s important to ask the same questions to each leaver. That way you can see any patterns forming that might need further investigation. It could highlight issues with processes or wider company culture, which gives insight into future changes that might be required.

Exit interviews should not be used as an opportunity for employers to give feedback to the outgoing employee, this should be continuous throughout the engagement, both positive and negative. An employer might make a recommendation for further training and/or career progression pathways.

The exit interview template gives detail on effective ways to use the feedback you gain to improve processes, culture and working practices at your organisation. 

Communicate with employees

The screen industries are incredibly transient and workforces change frequently, so it’s good to communicate to others when people leave, whether that is due to end of contract, or for an involuntary reason. It helps to manage employee engagement and team morale.

Remember to thank the employee/worker for their contribution.

Final preparations

Prepare to deactivate passwords, and/or access to IT/files. This may require setting an out of office message if an email account needs to be kept open. This limits security risks.

Make sure that any paperwork is sent out, in terms of termination letters, or notice of end of contract.

Make arrangements for final pay, including any outstanding leave or expenses, and arrange for a P45 to be issued if appropriate.

Record retention

All organisations collect data relating to their employees. HR records contain a wide range of data and it is important that it is stored securely and in line with relevant legislation. Organisations should ensure that documents are kept for as long as needed but no longer. All records should be destroyed securely. It is important to communicate this information to all staff. Some organisations implement a record retention policy that is accessible to all staff.

The Data Protection Act 2018 applies to most HR records, in both digital and paper format. Data must not be kept for longer than necessary, and it must be for a legitimate purpose. The emphasis of the act is on the employer (data controller) to have systems in place to determine how long records should be kept and when they should be destroyed.

Recommended retention periods

Personnel files and training records (including formal disciplinary records and working time records)

Recommended retention period: six years after employment ceases, but note that it may be unreasonable to refer to expired warnings after two years have elapsed.

Recruitment application forms and interview notes (for unsuccessful candidates)

Recommended retention period: six months to a year.

Minimum retention periods for records relating to advertising of vacancies and job applications should be at least six months in order to comply with any discrimination legislation. Claimants for discrimination are advised to make a claim within six months, though there have been instances of this being extended to a year.


Recommended retention period: at least one year after the reference is given to meet the limitation period for defamation claims.

Right to work in the UK checks

Recommended retention period: Home Office recommended practice is two years after employment ends.

Terms and conditions including offers, written particulars, and variations (contracts)

Recommended retention period: review six years after employment ceases or the terms are superseded.

Read more about data protection and managing staff records in Data protection and your business - gov.uk​


The following courses are another vital and easy way to learn the essentials:

  • Leadership and Management Essentials
  • Stepping Into Management 101
  • Mental Health Awareness for HoDs
  • Creative Feedback: How to Give and Receive it Well
  • Anti-Bullying & Harassment Training
  • Mastering Giving Feedback
  • Managing Tricky Relationships
  • Mastering Receiving Feedback
  • How to Have Difficult Conversations at Work

Find these activities about good recruitment practices and many other resources here.