Employee terminations are a part of the employee life-cycle; and sometimes inevitable when the economy slows down and you no longer require the same number of staff as during boom times. It is better to let someone go rather than keep them in a position that offers them no career growth opportunities or is not a fit for the individual’s strengths and skill-set.
However, when employee terminations are not conducted properly, this can introduce risk into your business. There are best practices for conducting terminations with respect and dignity; and in a manner that lowers your overall risk as an employer.
How to Conduct Terminations Properly
- Conduct the meeting face to face in a private setting where you will not be interrupted.
- Hold the meeting close to the end of the day when many of the other employees have gone home. It is better not to conduct terminations on Friday when employees have the whole weekend to fester about the decision. During the week allows them time to ask any questions of human resources and take action working with an outplacement service and move forward in a positive direction rather than feel like they have no options.
- Ensure that you have consulted human resources and/or an employment lawyer in advance of this meeting.
- Have the termination letter prepared for the meeting and signed by the employee’s direct manager.
- Be clear why the employee is being terminated; and do not waver from the message or send mixed signals that you will reconsider the decision made or negotiate with the employee.
- The news of why the employee is being terminated should be delivered by the employee’s direct manager with human resources in the room to answer questions afterwards about any severance or support provided to the employee.
- It is best to engage the services of an career transition or outplacement service that provides resume coaching, training, and career counselling to help the employee land on their feet for their next career move.
- If the employee is not being terminated for just cause, allow them to return to their desk and pack their personal belongings or return at another time to collect their belongings.
- Do not forget that this is a human being you are dealing with and if the individual is not being terminated for just cause express compassion and regret for the termination; and thank the employee for their contributions to the organization and wish them all the best going forward.