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Terminated employees

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Question: It doesn't happen often, but whenever an employee is terminated, we struggle with how - or if - to announce it to the rest of the employees. It's such a sensitive issue. How do you let people know without affecting morale?  -- Kristin, Seattle


I believe that the best way to handle it is to let the staff know that the employee is no longer with the company and provide information on who will be handling their duties going forward. No referenced to "terminated" or reason for leaving are necessary to share with the staff. And realistically, folks most likely already know what is going on and will respect that management has the consideration to let the staff know that the person is leaving and not just brush it under the rug.

We send an email to the team,letting them know that the employee has "left the company", will be missed, etc. with no details other than that. As the other respondant said, most people will know anyway. The important thing is to communicate the news promptly so it doesn't appear that it's being deliberately hidden.

I agree with Diane's comment. No reason for termination is neccesary. That is a management decision and that's the end of it. Most likely staff members already know the reasons for the termination. The important issue here is "who will be taking over that person's duties". It's not an easy task especially if some of us were attached to this individual. Even though it's part of the reality world, some of us might be affected more than others when we hear of such. If that's the case we can support this person by giving them a call at home to find out how they are doing.

This is a tough question, and the response is based on the size of the company. If this is a small business and everyone is close, you need a staff meeting. If this is a medium size company that's departmentalize, just the immediate staff that worked with this employee should be informed. A large corporation could be handled in a memo, but probably not necessary.

Also, this may be a good time to remind the staff of the companies expectations.

I was with Margarette all the way until I read the last sentence, which I disagree with completely. You might as well just add, "so watch your p's and q's or you could be next" because that's what folks will be thinking.

An employer should try to guard against encouraging collusion or fostering a sense of insecurity among their remaining employees during these situations. Citing company policies in such an email would be counter-productive to that goal. In any case, such a notice should be a short, simple email stating who is leaving, expressing appreciation for their contributions, and informing everyone of the staff who will be covering their duties going forward.

It would be totally appropriate to publish, post, and/or distribute company guidelines at a point in the future, when the two events do not look related to one another. These same guidelines should be given to every new employee at the start of their work experience.

I'd like to second Marie's comments. It would be like pouring gasoline on a fire around here.

Also, I would like to think that your company would recognize that morale isn't somehting to pay tribute to when something bad happens. If you think that's the only time morale is lowered, think again. Employees are almost always on the lookout for better opportunities. Think about how to keep them when times are good and the rough spots won't seem so bad.

I don't know if the size of the company should make a difference. All that should be communicated is that So and So is no longer with the company until this position is filled, Such and such will be handling their duties. Employees are not entitled to a reason good or bad as to why an employee leaves. I think the company should just notify everyone of the change and continue with business as normal.

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