Whether the divorce occurs on happy terms or not, it is crucial that you as a company have a plan for how to say goodbye to an employee.
Be proper when firing
Let's look at terminations. There may be many legitimate reasons why you will have to say goodbye to an employee, but few people think it is a fun situation to be in. It places a number of demands on the employer – both for ethical and strategic reasons.
First and foremost, people should be treated with respect. Whether you are terminated as a result of poor economics, a horrible climate of cooperation, bad performance, or something else, you as an employer are “the strong” party, and that responsibility should be taken seriously.
In the case of sudden or acute dismissal, it is essential that a contingency plan is ready. There must be a plan for who is to present the termination, as well as where and when it should be done, as well as a procedure for how equipment is returned – for example, IT or special equipment.
Keep in mind that the employee is vulnerable no matter what, so make sure, among other things, that they do not walk away agitated from the termination and through an office landscape in order to get away from the company. It’s trivial, but it’s important.
And make sure that there is a clear roadmap for how access to different IT systems, email accounts, and so on can be cut immediately.
If the employee has not been terminated due to, for example, criminal circumstances, but “simply” has not really picked up the pace or is a victim of too few orders, you should allow them to say goodbye to their soon-to-be former coworkers. Maybe not on the day of the termination, but during a visit to the company after some time. Maybe you’re wondering what value it might have for your business, but we’ll get back to this.
Make an old employee to a new ambassador
To a large extent, most workplaces resemble a football club. Everyone has an interest in the players performing at the highest level, but if it goes too well, they become attractive to the market.
However, one rarely gets a gigantic transfer fee when the key employee changes jobs, but in return you can get something else – a potential customer, an ambassador, or some insight.
If you are able to depart in a good way, you will have someone who knows you and your business, and it is likely that they will be interested in building a business relationship if it is relevant in the new job.
With regard to employer branding, it is imperative that you have as many ambassadors out there as possible. In the fight for talent, many companies are selected or rejected based on soft parameters such as the working environment and culture, and in that game, it can be expensive to end up with a reputation as a place where it is not nice to be. It is also in relation to this that it may be a good idea to keep the door open for employees that you have actually fired. By being accommodating, you increase the likelihood that they will actually act as your ambassadors, rather than becoming bards of tales of how bad a place your business is.
If a skilled employee ends up finding work elsewhere, you should relate to the following points:
- Communicate that the employee is stopping
Make sure that the closest employees, as well as customers, are informed that the employee is stopping. It minimizes the risk of rumors, and it allows you to signal to the customers that you have a grip on the situation.
- Systematise the knowledge transfer
Make sure that as much know-how as possible remains in the company, even if the employee disappears. Document as much as possible.
- Manage the technical systems
As we have previously mentioned, access to the IT systems must be blocked and the office must be cleared. Take IT security people on board, but beware of being too “hysterical” – allow the employee to get their own personal stuff from the workstation, but of course have respect for the company’s data.
Be sure to thank employees who have been good to have in the company. And also make it public. It promotes a good culture if one can leave the place and still get a bouquet of roses, and it signals to the rest of the staff that good employees are appreciated.
Ask your employees why they are leaving. Ask them what would have made them stay. And ask them what they’ve received at their new workplace that they could have used when they were with you. Exit interviews provide a lot of insight into your business that can be used for both recruiting and retaining employees. If necessary, wait until your former employee has been at their new job for a few months, but make the appointment when they stop with you.