An Employer’s Guide to Terminating an Employee

Shefali Vasave | February 14, 2022 | 24 views

Why is it Necessary to Terminate Employment?

Sometimes, there is just no way around terminating an employee.

Employment termination can be a difficult and emotional decision for both the employer and the employee. Employers should be aware that such a decision is not to be taken lightly. There is a lot of weight to the fact that terminating an employee can cost as much as 200% of the employee’s annual salary.

Sometimes there are some serious reasons and external factors that compel an organization to terminate employment. Whether it’s organizational requirements like restructuring your workforce, revisiting your staffing needs, and optimizing resources, or individual grounds of termination like incompetence, insubordination, dishonesty, or even fraud, there can be many acceptable reasons.

Top Four Tips for Terminating an Employee with Dignity and Respect

An employee termination policy can guide your decision to terminate an employee and address the legal implications of the termination. Because wrongful termination can cost a company upwards of $100,000, you need to mention all the reasons, policies, and tactics for firing employees.

A conversation about firing an employee would be incomplete without revisiting the hiring of the employee. Most terminations can be avoided with the right hiring process. Some precautions that can be taken to avoid bad hires are:

  • Establishing an appropriate level of performance and expectations for the position
  • Determining the cause of the employee's inadequate performance and deciding if it is something that can be addressed with training and reskilling
  • Providing feedback on performance, including both positive and negative, to the employee so they know improvement is key
  • Creating a plan for how you will provide them feedback on their performance in the future, such as requiring regular reports or scheduling weekly meetings

Employee termination should be the last resort, as it is a terrifying experience for an employee. The least you can do is make sure that the employee is terminated in a dignified manner.

An Employee Termination Letter Shouldn’t Be a Surprise

Employee termination letters should not be a surprise because they are an important part of the process. They provide a formal notification to the employee that their employment is terminated. The letter should include specifics about the termination, like the date of termination, the reason for termination, and any benefits or severance packages.

The letter should be kept as short as possible. It is best to keep it to one page and avoid using emotional language or personal attacks on the employee. The key points that need to be included in this letter are:
  • Date of notice
  • Reason for termination
  • Severance package
  • Benefits continuation
  • Notice period

“It isn’t stated values, but rather behaviors and norms that actually comprise a company’s culture.”

- Julia Markish, Director of Advisory Services at Lattice

Planning Ahead When Terminating an Employee

The best way to plan when terminating an employee is to consider all your options before making your decision.

This is where your employee termination policy comes in. First, consider the reason for the termination and what would be the best course of action.

If you believe that they will be able to find a new job quickly without much difficulty, then it may be best to offer a severance package in exchange for their resignation.

If you think they will face difficulty in finding a new job, then you may want to offer them other options, such as additional training or coaching sessions. This will help them to find another position or suitable alternative.

Terminations are rarely mutual, but there are some steps that you can take to make this process easy and smooth for both parties.

 

Scheduling the Termination Meeting Quickly

Many companies face the challenge of quickly terminating an employee. This is often because they are trying to avoid any legal backlash or to save time on recruiting. You don’t want to dwell or negotiate once the decision has been made.

The first step is to make sure that you have a clear understanding of what the termination entails. You need to know what your company's employee termination policy is, how much notice you have to give by law, and what kind of severance package your company is giving you.

Next, it is important for you to schedule a meeting with the employee as soon as possible. It should be scheduled at least one week in advance so that it doesn't interfere with their work schedule and deadlines. The meeting should be short and sweet, just enough time for them to know what's happening and for you to give them prior intimation.


Communicating the Termination - Do’s and Don’ts

The termination process is an important step for every employee and their employer. In addition to making sure that all legal obligations are met, it is imperative to make sure that all communications are done in a professional manner.


Do’s

  • Document all the necessary information
  • Be mindful of confidentiality and privacy laws
  • Communicate with the employee as soon as possible, preferably in person
  • Be clear about your reasons for terminating them, including any performance issues or misconducts
  • Offer to help find new employment opportunities if they want to continue working in their field of expertise. You can also offer to provide a reference letter if they don’t want to continue working in their field of expertise


Don’ts

  • Don’t terminate an employee on a Friday. It is a bad idea to terminate an employee on a Friday unless it is necessary. Monday would be the best day to have the meeting.
  • Don’t communicate or share the employee termination letter through email. It is not advisable to send an email as it may seem cold and impersonal. Instead, try communicating face-to-face or through phone calls.
  • Don't terminate an employee without notice. The last thing you want an employee to do is walk out of your office in anger or frustration.


A Final Word

In the past, terminations were generally based on poor performance and misconduct. But nowadays, organizations are shifting towards more strategic terminations as part of organizational restructuring and workforce planning. They may terminate employees to reduce costs or to make room for new talent.

For instance, ByteDance, the owner of the video sharing platform, TikTok, recently laid off a global talent development team. According to a CNBC report, 70 to 100 people were affected by ByteDance’s decision to revisit and restructure the team to make the overall HR process more efficient. ByteDance handled the termination by offering the affected teams’ opportunities within the company. Most of the team members were internally accommodated into new job roles.

The decision to terminate an employee can have a significant impact on the organization's culture and morale, as well as its productivity. Termination is often necessary when there are performance issues or when the company needs to make changes to survive.


Frequently Asked Questions


How do you know if it's time to terminate an employee?

There are many signs that can indicate that it's time to think about terminating an employee. Some of these signs include:
  • The employee doesn't meet performance expectations
  • The employee has broken company policies
  • The employee is not a good fit for the position they were hired for
  • The employee is not a good fit for your company culture


What are the benefits of terminating an employee?

Terminating an employee will allow the company to free up resources and time that they can use to hire a new employee. This is especially true for small businesses that need to save money on overhead costs.


What is the legal process for terminating an employee?

If an employer terminates an employee without notice or without following the necessary procedure, then they might face legal consequences. For instance, people can sue their former employer for terminating them without notice.

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Unum Technology Solutions at the Forefront of the New World of Work with Innovative HR Offerings

Unum Technology Solutions | June 24, 2022

In response to the evolving needs of employees in a cutthroat talent market, Unumoffers a range of technologically advanced solutions. Support for employees' mental health and employee recruitment and retention are two of the top HR concerns in the workplace, according to recent Unum research. According to Unum research, more over half (56%) of American workers reported feeling mentally ill. According to Polly Nicholas, SVP Unum Solutions, the company is at the forefront of assisting workers when they require time off from work and saving employers' time when handling benefit administration. "Unum has always been an organization that helps the working world thrive throughout life's moments. When you consider what the world has gone through in the last few years, now, more than ever, we are in a profound sort of touchstone for how we can show up for people." - Polly Nicholas, SVP Unum Solutions "Our internal data shows there was a 37% growth in Unum disability claims paid and 55% increase in leaves administered. When you couple that with the national conversation around leave, mental and financial wellness, our portfolio of solutions can provide meaningful support for America's workers and businesses," Nicholas commented further. Businesses benefit from Unum's service and technological solutions as they adapt to the needs of a changing workforce. The range of online services include: Support Time Away: Unum Total Leave and Unum Leave Logic offer simple-to-use tools for managing and planning leaves of absence, elevating the employee experience and providing reliable data for HR. Integrate HR Systems: To ensure seamless setup, management, and access, Unum HR Connect may be integrated with the best HRIS suppliers. Enhance Workforce Wellness: Unum Behavioral Health gives employees more access to individualized experiences and gives businesses resources to lessen the stigma associated with mental illness.

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HR PRACTICE

Tango Announces $14M Series A and Launches Workspaces for Teams

Tango | June 15, 2022

Tango, the leading Workflow Intelligence Platform that streamlines the creation of process documentation, today announced its $14 million Series A funding, bringing its total funding to $19.7M. Tiger Global Management led the round, with Slack Fund and Atlassian Ventures participating. Existing Tango investors also participated and included Wing VC, General Catalyst, GSV Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, and Outsiders Fund. In conjunction with the funding, Zach DeWitt, Partner at Wing VC, will join Tango's board of directors. Tango's Workflow Intelligence Platform provides the insights necessary to scale business operations by standardizing best practices, onboarding and training new hires more quickly, and improving employee performance. Through its Chrome Extension and Desktop Application, Tango automatically captures processes in real-time and generates instantaneous, beautiful step-by-step how-to guides that can easily be exported or embedded into learning management systems and knowledge bases. Since the launch of its Chrome Extension in September 2021, Tango quickly scaled to 100,000 users in just eight months and became Product Hunt's second most upvoted product of 2021. "Slack charted the course for bottoms-up adoption. We strongly believe great collaboration tools have undeniable product-led DNA. Tango has this in spades, and we have incredibly high conviction in the team's ability to define the category," - Jason Spinell of Slack Fund Introducing Workspaces Over 25,000 teams are currently using Tango, highlighting the need for functionality that can serve entire organizations. Tango's Workspaces, built for teams, bring powerful collaboration features, including shared folders, viewership analytics, Workflow discovery, and user permissioning. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted companies' knowledge management challenges in shifting to a virtual workforce. Today, businesses still face challenges when collaborating and accessing information across the organization. The Great Resignation has only exacerbated this, with many businesses facing higher turnover rates and more significant recruitment difficulties. Tango allows teams to capture processes in the flow of work and the new Workspaces product enables real-time access to quality process documents for all team members. With real insights into how work is getting done, organizations can standardize best practices from top performers, identify knowledge gaps, and support employees to improve their performance and career satisfaction. "We are thrilled to announce our recent funding to continue building Tango. Our mission is to improve the future of work by providing solutions businesses need for effective collaboration and knowledge sharing. In addition, we are proud to launch Workspaces, bringing organizations of all sizes the insights they need to better understand how work is performed. With the ability to see and understand how work is getting done, organizations can focus on improving employee performance, standardizing best practices, and ultimately, scaling business operations," - Ken Babcock, co-founder and CEO of Tango. Tango will use the funding to continue focusing on new internal collaboration features for both the creator and the consumer of documentation. Tango envisions a future of work where documentation mirrors the organization: a living, dynamic approach to internal knowledge. About Tango: Tango is the premier Workflow Intelligence Platform that empowers people to be their best at work. Tango is the fastest way to create step-by-step tutorials and documentation, enabling top performers and teams to auto-capture and share best practices, all in the flow of work. Tango generated Workflows captured by its Chrome Extension and Desktop app helps teams onboard new hires, train employees, and facilitate process improvement.

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HR PRACTICE

FM:Systems and AMS announce Bi-Directional Integration App on ServiceNow Store

FM:Systems | June 10, 2022

announced that AMS Workplace Technology, its award-winning Premier Certified Business Partner, has built an integration between FM:Systems and the ServiceNow cloud platform. The AMS FM:Systems Integration Engine is certified for use in the ServiceNow Store, an enterprise application marketplace for solutions that have passed stringent requirements. The FM:Systems Integration Engine supports automated bi-directional workflows between FM:Systems and ServiceNow users to increase efficiency and communication between different teams and groups. Integration managers now have complete control and flexibility to integrate any FM:Systems Workplace module with core ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM) modules, including requests, incidents, change requests, problem management, and more. This allows either solution to be a front end one-stop-shop for users while exchanging data securely and efficiently on the back end for processing by stakeholders. Since ServiceNow is already used as an ITSM help desk ticketing system for employee computer and network issues, companies want to expand that to other employee services, including facilities requests such as maintenance issues and move requests. They want to leverage the front-end of ServiceNow, or in some cases FM:Systems, to feed and synchronize requests with the other. It is here where the AMS-developed Integration Engine empowers them to build virtually any workflow, business rule, or process to improve productivity across all teams and groups. With the integration app installed, users can rely on a single system front-end to keep track of all their service requests. Integration between the platforms allows support tickets to be processed in real-time while it unburdens staff from time-intensive data-entry tasks. As the worldwide leading market share ITSM software application, organizations across industry sectors use ServiceNow as a simple low-code/no-code platform to track help desk tickets and manage other requests relating to their facilities, which can include new hires and aspects around maintenance. "Companies using FM:Systems software often want to integrate workplace activities with ServiceNow for automatic service ticket creation. The AMS integration app allows a limitless number of use cases to synchronize data between the two environments. Effectively, users can now have a centralized area to collect requests while processing and managing them in their respective systems. Being a long-time partner of FM:Systems, AMS understands how to unlock the value in its technology. Making this integration engine app available on the ServiceNow Marketplace extends the reach of both organizations to harness even more business opportunities as companies turn to enhance their ITSM help desk needs," - Brian Haines, Chief Strategy Officer of FM:Systems. About FM:Systems More than 1,500 organizations worldwide trust FM:Systems to transform their workplace experience and bring employees together in exceptional, healthy workplaces that enhance productivity and delight occupants. Recognized as a market leader by industry analysts, our suite of digital workplace solutions provides actionable insights to optimize every facet of your real estate portfolio and ensure your ever-ready workplace is prepared for the unexpected. With customers representing half of the Fortune 50, ⅔ of top 25 US banks, 150+ government institutions, 350+ universities, over 200 hospital and healthcare organizations and 50% of the leading pharmaceutical firms, our market leading solutions manage over 3 billion square feet across 80 countries. FM:Systems is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina and conducts business globally.

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