5 things to be aware of when terminating an employee remotely

The coronavirus pandemic has led to numerous changes in the business landscape today. Together with other challenges businesses are facing today, human resource representatives are also faced with a unique task: terminating employees remotely. Terminating an employee is sometimes a nasty and an uncomfortable affair under any circumstances. Firing an employee face-to-face is an easier task as the HR representative controls the environment and the conversation. On the other hand, doing it remotely is harder for even the most skilled pros. Below are things you need to be aware of when remotely terminating an employee:

1.Open Communication Is Key
While working remotely has its benefits, communication isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, when terminating an employee, ensure you openly communicate with them throughout the process. This should apply to the employee being terminated and other team members whose work might be affected by the termination. Be transparent; explain the reason for termination and answer their questions promptly.

2. There Is a Right Time and Place
Employee terminations are happening in every industry. Small businesses and startups have been hit hard by the pandemic, forcing them to take drastic measures to ensure their survival. Just like firing an employee in-person, there is a time and a place for it. Don’t just spring a termination on an unsuspecting employee- instead, schedule a video meeting with them for an exit interview just like you would if it was an in-person one.

3. Be Ready to Answer Their Questions
Employees often have many questions when they are being terminated. They might ask about their last pay cheques, employee benefits, and other specific questions, such as the factors behind the termination and feedback about their performance. Be ready for any possible questions they may have before the termination meeting.

4. Keep the relevant rules and regulations in mind.
Ensure you have the rules governing employee termination in their geographic location in mind. These laws can be different from those governing your company’s headquarters. If you violate any of those laws during the termination process, it could open up your company up for a lawsuit.

5. Come up With a Plan to Retrieve or Return Company Property
As many employees are now working from home, companies have made the necessary arrangements to provide them with working tools. When firing a remote employee, ensure that you work out a plan to recover any company materials they have. If the firing is amicable, you can ask the employee to send the materials via mail. Ensure that you cover the cost so that the employee does not have to cover anything. If not, you could get law enforcement involved.

6. Disconnect the Employee’s Access to Any Company Systems
When firing an employee face-to-face, their access to essential company systems ends when they leave the office. For remote employees, however, they have access to company systems from the comfort of their homes. This means that they can potentially cause damage to the company if they choose. Ensure to disconnect their access to company servers and any other digital domains immediately after the termination. Anyone can have a change of heart, even the employees who seem to have accepted the termination and left on a good note.

Employee termination is a challenging and sometimes tiresome task. However, terminating a remote employee comes with its own set of unique challenges. If you are well prepared with the right attitude, the termination process might go smoothly. Ensure that you keep the above six tips at the back of your mind when preparing for a termination.

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