Best Practices for Termination: What to Do After Saying “You’re Fired”
At long last, we’ve reached the final stage of our termination best practices series. We’ve implemented protective measures for our organization before workforce issues arise, taken appropriate steps in advance of the decision to terminate someone, and undergone the ordeal of saying “you’re fired.”
Time to shake off all that stress and move on, right?
Not quite yet. There are still a few more things to do if we want to truly minimize our chances of a wrongful termination claim or other post-termination dispute:
“Leadership demands compassion. You were the agent of a terrible thing that has just happened in this person’s life. Don’t run away, and don’t force HR to pick up the pieces. Speak as needed and answer questions as they come up. [After the conversation, say,] ‘let me walk you back to your desk, where you can pick up your belongings, and then we’ll both walk out of the office together like it’s a normal day.’”
Of course, this necessitates some preparation beforehand, so familiarize yourself with matters such as severance pay and unused benefits, and be ready to answer any questions the ex-employee may have.
On the topic of preparation, make sure to develop post-termination procedures beforehand. These procedures typically include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Removing an employee’s physical access to the facility
- Removing an employee’s technical access (e.g. email accounts, computer logins)
- Ensuring the employee returns any company property
Next, take account of your recordkeeping about the employee. Follow up with managers on any documentation that was not kept or provided at the beginning of the process, as the organization may need this information for any remediation moving forward.
After terminating the individual, you’ll need to communicate the change to the rest of your team. HR specialist Karen Cavanaugh says that although it may seem tough” to find the balance between not saying enough and saying too much,” the key is to “keep your delivery simple and to back it up with good, consistent policies.”
On an annual or semi-annual basis, review termination metrics such as turnover rate and the type of turnover: Was it voluntary? Involuntary? Retirement? An alien abduction? Use these metrics to identify trends, problem areas, and areas for improvement: What can you do to keep employees engaged at work, or to reduce the incidence of issues that lead to termination? Does your organization have systems in place to fill jobs immediately after someone steps down (or is kidnapped by extraterrestrials)?
Once you have identified issues and come up with a plan of action, the last step is to implement your new strategy. Then lather, rinse, repeat—continue reviewing metrics and making improvements.
It’s never easy to tell someone they’re out of a job. But with the right approach to terminations, you can cut down on the unnecessary confusion, drama, and stress. And by continually improving employee engagement and retention, you can even lower your turnover rate—and the chance you’ll have to say “you’re fired” again sometime soon. An automated workforce compliance platform makes it possible: learn all about Compli’s termination initiatives and manager training solutions.