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Saying goodbye to an employee is never an easy process. Whether it is a mutual decision to part ways, or an unexpected incident that leads to termination, a conversation about ending an employment relationship can be a difficult one to have. Sometimes, it might seem easier to swiftly cut the cord and move on. However, such a decision could lead to bad blood between your place of business and a disgruntled former employee. In order to protect the integrity and image of your company (not to mention your data), the following employee exit process steps should always be followed.
Be Clear About the Reason
If the time comes to let an employee go, it's important to be honest about the reasoning behind your decision. Being vague or unclear about why a decision is being made can frustrate not only the terminated employee, but his/her co-workers as well. The last thing any business needs is a frustrated team sparked by a disgruntled former employee or accusations of wrongful termination. An honest sit-down conversation is always the best way to handle these potentially uncomfortable conversations. Try to make it clear that you wish them the best and, when you can, offer to give them a good recommendation for future jobs.
Maybe don't treat them like this...
It's never good to burn bridges. Spoiler alert: In the end, Milton does end up burning the building down. It's a small world, so you never know when you may be crossing paths with a former employee in the future. Although it may be an uncomfortable situation, you can always end your professional relationship cordially.
Account for All Company Equipment
If employees were issued company computers, phones or other devices, be sure that you have collected them back before the termination process is completed. It can be very difficult to get in contact with someone that you have let go after their final day of work. You don't want to have to purchase new equipment because you weren't able to retrieve devices from a former employee.
More importantly, these devices contain company confidential data. If you aren't able to retrieve a certain device, you need to attempt to remotely wipe it. A company computer or cell phone could include information that would harm your business if released to the public. Would you want your competitors knowing your target revenue goals, for instance?
In order to avoid this problem, have a process in place ahead of time. Make sure that you're able to remotely access all company devices and write a device return policy into your employee hiring process.
Disable Company Information Access
Removing an employee means removing any connection that employee has to company information. Make sure that you take all former employees off of any email lists, employee pages, distribution lists, or other areas tied to your business.
What NOT to do:
So what should you do instead?
Checklist of Action Items:- Disable email account
- Close computer access
- Change phone extension
- Disable security codes
- Collect security card/keys
In the end, letting an employee go is something that every business will go through at one time or another. It's not something that we enjoy doing (hopefully), but if it's going to be done, it should be done the right way. These three simple steps should help to make your employee exit process a little bit more bearable.
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