We’ve all heard those stories. The ones that spotlight terrible, painful and downright shocking employee exits. You know those stories, whether they’ve happened in your workplace or to you. They are the stories that make you cringe, sit back, and say, “Wait, they did what?” And then make a viral video out of to stick it up to them.
Painful Employee Exits. Take A Deep Breath.
If you spend enough time in the working world, these stories are bound to come up in conversation. You may see them first hand (hopefully not), hear about them from a friend, or read about them in the news. Either way, they are out there. From employees who are found sleeping on the job to those who’ve called out of work because of a fake death in the family; sometimes termination is the only option.
But the truth is that not all employee exits have such dramatic endings. Some are mutual decisions, others are job eliminations and then there are those where individual performance doesn’t match with organizational objectives. And that’s OK. Whether employees choose to leave or are terminated, the employee exit process is never easy. Keep these tips in mind to help ensure the smoothest transition for your company.
Communicate The Decision Clearly
Notify the employee of their termination succinctly, and honestly. Do not apologize, argue or ramble; take notes and document what was said. If there is litigation, this will prevent any discrepancy between your company’s reason for terminating, and what the employee may have understood it to be.
Adhere To The Handbook
Diligently follow your company’s policies as they relate to employee terminations. This protects the business and sets a steady precedent for its procedures.
Stay mindful of special characteristics and avoid making your decision in relation to them. Anything the notifier says throughout the termination procedure regarding sex, race, age, status of marriage or pregnancy, disability, origin or religion could be legally classified as discrimination. Keep these topics top of mind and stay away from them.
Handle Potential Conflict
Your former employee may respond emotionally, but it will be the employer’s job to maintain composure and fulfill the company’s decision. If the individual wishes to vent their feelings – within reason – let them and avoid diminishing their thoughts. Understand that this is likely a difficult moment, so provide hard copies of any relevant material so they may further process it later.
Immediately following termination, members of the IT department should revoke all technological access the former employee may have had. That includes remote access and all company-owned property. You’ll also need to revoke access to intellectual property. That includes corporate files, customer data, sales information and marketing collateral and strategies.
More Questions? We’ve Got Answers
If you’re in the pits of terminating an employee, head over to our Webinar Recap: The Employee Exit: How To Fire As Gracefully As Possible for some TLC and guidance as you navigate the sensitive terrain of letting an employee go. Good luck!