Make Employee Termination a Less Traumatic Experience


Employee Termination is, undoubtedly, the scariest thing in the HR world.

Everything associated with this term is saddening and heart-breaking. It scares everyone involved in the process… the HR person, the manager and the employee. Since termination is the end of a relationship between an employee and the organization, it makes the separation more painful and uncomfortable.



Terminating an employee is a daunting task (though the decision could not be changed), managers and HR people can take steps to make it comfortable and less stressful.

The employees being “dismissed” or “fired” or “terminated” from an organization go through difficult time, it is necessary to not surprise them with the harsh termination decision. It sets a wrong example for other employees, lowers their confidence and brings down company reputation.

Take it slow!! Take the termination process slow and steady. In fact, the termination should be conducted as a step-wise process, and not just a one-sided verdict!

While protecting legal and financial interests, it is also necessary to give a better experience to the employees and not just the SHOCK.

Here is a list of things you can attempt to make employee termination a less traumatic experience for both parties involved in the process.

Issue Warning Letter Before Employee Termination

Whether it is about unethical behavior of an employee or low productivity, make sure to write a warning letter to notify the person.

However in some cases, it is necessary to lay a meeting to highlight points where things are not doing well. Especially, for underperformers run Performance Improvement Plan and give them at least a chance to prove their caliber. Even if nothing falls in the right place, issue warning letter to the employee and explain the termination conditions.

Track and Document Everything

Communication can simplify many troubles. In tough situations when employees are subjected to termination, it is advised to document all the communications taking place between the employees and the manager (or the HR leader). Communications prior to the firing process are critical. They should always be summarized via emails even after discussing (in face-to-face meetings) in detail.

Coaching Session

After issuing warning letter, clearly state the goals (including team and individual goals) in the coaching meeting and stipulate a deadline to achieve them. Also, explain the consequences if the goals are not achieved within the estimated time frame. This is a part of performance improvement plan, therefore it is necessary to document the process and keep concerned people informed about it.

Avoid Surprise Element

Under any circumstances, make sure to avoid giving surprise to the employee by disclosing the termination decision. The decision should be fair on the basis of a particular reason or fault.

Wrap up…

Whether it is needed to downsize the company due to economic downfall, or the poor performance of an employee against his job responsibilities, or unethical behavior, or something else; the employer should have a calculative approach for employee termination.

Because, at last, the employee takes away nothing, but the experience to remember for a lifetime!!

TAGS: HR, HR Technology, Human Resources

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