I'm creating documentation that describes both the process of onboarding new team members (e.g. creating accounts for required resources, locating, installing and configuring required software, finding the right person to talk to for a particular request), and also the process of offboarding departing members (e.g. revoking access to resources, ensuring completed work is stored in an appropriate location).

Ideally I'd like to arrange this documentation in a hierarchy, where these two processes seem to naturally sit under headings of "onboarding" and "offboarding," or in simpler English, "joining" and "leaving."

I'm looking for something that would be a top-level (umbrella) term to place both these headings under - descriptiveness is more important than brevity.

I'd rather avoid things like "HR Processes" as these contain things that the new team members, and other team members need to do that don't really feel to me like they fit under human resources' purview.

Obviously I could just use a heading like "Onboarding/Offboarding" but if there's a suitable umbrella term I'd much rather use that.

  • Resource assignment?
    – Lawrence
    May 17, 2017 at 15:06
  • That's an interesting suggestion, thank you - I like where that's heading because we're dealing with more than just human resources
    – sharkey
    May 17, 2017 at 15:07
  • 6
    I've never come across onboarding, offboarding before. What's wrong with using English rather than "managementese" (i.e. - just use joining, leaving)? May 17, 2017 at 15:08
  • Granting access? May 17, 2017 at 15:08
  • FumbleFingers - that would be fine, really. Onboarding/offboarding are pretty common in the context we're using them, but joining and leaving make good sense. I still can't think of a decent umbrella term, though :( Yoseph - there are more activities than just granting or obtaining access - I'll update the question to reflect that, sorry.
    – sharkey
    May 17, 2017 at 15:18

3 Answers 3


In my work places we've used 'transition,' 'transition process' or 'workplace transition' as an umbrella for both terms.

If the changes all relate to the same type of positions (employees, contractors, interns, etc..) then it could be 'employee transition'

Hope that helps (albeit belatedly).


This sounds like an employee transition plan:

Employee transition plans are a living documents that managers use to structure an organizational transition. Whether an employee is leaving their role or starting a new one, a transition plan can help streamline all processes involved. Overall, such plans can help managers set up actionable steps within organizational shifts and guide transitioning employees toward success. — Indeed

In fact, when I started my job I received a file with notes from the former employee titled "[Former employee name] transition document".


As these terms are abominations, invented to inflict mental torture on lovers of the English language, one is free to invent whatever portmanteau term one likes.

This could reflect the apparent nautical origins of the original, e.g.

Naval manœuvres


The basic problem with the root of these abominations is that “boarding” has the same meaning as that derived from the phrase “to go onboard” and cannot be used. If one wishes to retain the “board”, all I can think of is:


although the spelling is different, and it is not really English.

If one considers the nautical analogy carefully, then:

gangplank traversal

suggests itself. If a single word is required, the Scots “ganging” might serve, although I imagine the plankers (sp? perhaps it should have an ‘o’.) would make a verb of the noun. A physical scientist would just label the section “Max”.

The actual nautical terms (thankfully not prostituted for this purpose) are embarking and disembarking. In this case the root seems not inappropriate:


(An additional three-letter word is optional.)

The ridiculous name now given to the department rejoices in this:

Inhuman resource deployment

would reflect my own experience.


seems another possibility.

Alternatively one could try to translate the original into English, for example “Hiring and Firing” or, to avoid the implication of dismissal, “Hail and Farewell”, in which case the portmanteau term:


has much to recommend it. (I don’t need to explain the toe reference, do I?).

However if one really want something compact one would probably need to use a multi-syllable latinate word. As a chemist

Transition states

suggests itself. One would hope that, as in chemistry, thet don’t stay around too long.

But perhaps “transition” is too Latin, and the poster may have mentioned it, so to end here is an Anglo-Saxon suggestion (or perhaps not, on reflection, but older anyway, and only two syllables):


Sounds a bit like a collection of short stories, or the title of a record album, but if you didn’t like the others…

  • 3
    Offboarding refers to leaving for any reason, not just termination.
    – DjinTonic
    Oct 28, 2021 at 20:29
  • Absolutely. One for the home team.
    – Lambie
    Oct 28, 2021 at 23:33
  • 2
    Hiring and onboarding are not the same: hiring refers to the process of looking for staff, interviewing, deciding if they get a job, salary negotiations, contracts, etc. Onboarding is what happens once they're hired, and particularly once they've started work. Maybe you work in a job where they just hire people and then throw them in a factory and expect them to figure it out themselves, but most normal businesses do something different.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 29, 2021 at 9:41
  • @StuartF Thank you for your educating me regarding the contemporary terminology for hiring and firing, and you concern for my own employment experience. I have edited my answer in response to this.
    – David
    Oct 29, 2021 at 22:07
  • Hiring and onboarding are not the same Well, only if one defines them to be different. I don't see why hiring cannot extend well after the start of employment, to include all sorts of training and indoctrination and the other 'fun' modern employees are familiar with. Oct 30, 2021 at 10:31

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