RESPOND about the strategy they selected to implement for smoother termination.
Key steps that I found to be most helpful in making the termination process go smoothly were ensuring all supporting documentation is in order, immediately cutting off company property access, and considering a severance agreement.
It is crucial that the employer has supporting documentation on file that justifies termination of the employee. This includes performance reviews and any dated record of corrective action taken. These documents should prove the decision was not subjective or involving any personal feelings from either party. As an HRM professional, I would suggest requiring all leaders and managers to take annual training sessions on employee evaluation and coaching, conflict resolution, and steps to take in corrective action. HR should also ensure the organization has a written policy and procedure on the steps of corrective action such as oral reprimand, written reprimand, suspension, and then termination. Documenting each action taken with reason will also prove the termination is valid and defensible.
Cutting of an employee’s access to company property upon termination is important for the organization and the employee. This protects the company from any potential danger if the former employee seeks out revenge. This also protects the company from any security breach of secured data. A vengeful ex-employee may be inclined to steal important data, so it is best to collect all access cards, keys, and company devices prior to or at termination. My current employer requires us to sign a document acknowledging all the company property (door access cards, computer, take-home laptop, additional take-home monitor, company-issued apparel) that we received when initially hired. Attached to this document is an “exit sheet” that we have to acknowledge once we leave the company for any reason stating we’ve returned all company property and violating this agreement could potentially result in legal action. Once signing this, the former employee is escorted to their vehicle by security personnel.
Lastly, I believe an employer should consider a severance agreement when necessary. This is not always the case for terminations, so it should be on a case-by-case basis. HR should collaborate with the legal representatives of the organization to ensure the severance agreement doesn’t admit to any unfair practices of termination and that the exiting employee will not file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the employer. I’ve experienced this first-hand in college. I worked part-time at a well-known retail department store and was there for over 6 months. The store manager openly communicated to us that our location was scheduled to be closed within a year, so most part-time workers were expecting to be let go. I was called to HR during a shift and advised I would be terminated due to “downsizing by least seniority.” I was very surprised when I was offered a 2 months’ severance package that averaged my normal pay. Although I was part-time, I made decent income. I didn’t hesitate to agree to the severance package and agreed to refrain from filing a lawsuit. I even worked at a different location for this same store chain in another city because of how well they handled that situation. Offering severance pay isn’t always the answer for an employer, but they should consider it, especially if they don’t have documentation disproving wrongful termination.
Frick, R.E. (2019, August). Decided it’s time to terminate an employee? Now what?Talent Management Excellence Essentials.