16 Tips to Terminate an Employee Professionally

Posted: 07.06.2016
The main question most employers have when laying off staff is “How do I conduct the termination in a professional manner?” Please read below for tips on ensuring the process is conducted in a professional and efficient manner.

1. Think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes The question to ask yourself is how you would like the process to be handled if it were happening to you? For example, a successful termination should never be conducted by email explaining that the job has been downsized. This method can cause anger and frustration. Employees appreciate the consideration of being told of a termination face to face.

2. Establish and follow procedures Ensure that you have reviewed the Employment Standards Act or consult with an employment lawyer to be certain that regulations are followed. Follow any company policy with respect to terminations.

3. Arrange a time to speak with the employee in person (privately) You should avoid a termination in a glass enclosed office; instead try to do it in an office away from others. If the terminated employee is upset it will allow them to show their emotions without being embarrassed. The terminated employee’s privacy should be respected at all time.

4. Two people should be present during the termination process This procedure should be followed to ensure that there are no “he said, she said” questions afterwards. Having another person present (for example, a TorontoJobs.ca outplacement counselor or an HR representative) ensures that a witness is present and can be called on in the event of a legal dispute as to what was said at the termination.

5. Tell them early in the day If you were to be downsized, how would you feel if you worked all day only to be told at the end of the day that you are no longer needed? It would leave you feeling angry and frustrated.

6. Terminate early in the week Research has proven that Friday afternoon is the worst time to terminate an employee. Terminating an employee early in the week allows the employee to get the relevant forms they need to file employment insurance and get a start on their resume as soon as possible.

7. The termination should not be confrontational A termination should never be heated as a result of emotions. If the employee begins to yell to express their anger, do not retaliate indicate that the meeting has ended and finish immediately. You should also never raise your voice in response and never become aggressive when talking to the employee.

8. Address all administrative issues Explain to the terminated staff when they should expect a copy of their Record of Employment (ROE) and when they should expect their last paycheque.

9. Document the reasons for termination/Draft a termination letter The reason(s) for the termination should be documented and explained to the terminated employee(s). This ensures that there is no confusion between the employer and employee. Keep a copy of the letter in the employee’s personnel file.

10. State your business policy for giving references References are an integral part of the job search process. Some companies may not be legally allowed to give out references if it is stated in their corporate policy. If so, explain to the candidate what the best possible solution is regarding future employers.

11. Provide an explanation Be honest with the employee. If the market has slowed and it does not look like it will improve in the near future, let them know. If the company’s revenues are down bring this to their attention if they are not already aware of this information.

12. Get any company belongings back Company belongings include keys to the building and any passwords to computers and telephones. This ensures that there is no confusion later on. Make sure that once the person has left that computer passwords are changed immediately.

13. Allow the person to get their belongings at a later time If the employee is in a distraught state, the best option is to walk them to the door and ask that they come back later in order to pick up any personal belongings. This ensures that the person will have time to control their emotions.

14. Provide assistance Job transition assistance helps! If the person has not looked for a job in several years it is nice to have professional help. Outplacement Services are designed to ensure candidates are well prepared for the job search process. Outplacement Services will help reduce the employee(s) job search time, assist with their resume and cover letter, provide support and preparation for the transition and can help with emotional and mental issues that a job loss can cause.

15. Keep it short and to the point The termination is not a time to get into a discussion about the employees personal issues. The termination should address only work related occurrences and remain relatively short and to the point.

16. Remaining Employees Advise the remaining employees of the termination. Explain any circumstances that may have caused the decision such as a loss in revenue or a poor economy. Explain to them that help is being provided to the terminated staff if applicable. Restate the overall vision for the company.

If the termination is conducted in a professional manner, it will ensure that your company is looked upon positively by remaining employees. Communication is very important at this time.

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