It’s something that every business owner has to face: Offboarding employees. Letting an employee go is a necessary part of doing business. When you’ve hired someone and find that they’re not the right fit, you must know how to let them go fairly and legally.
Knowing the right way to fire employees is a skill learned over time.
Although it may not be something you do every day, it’s a necessary skill to have when you manage or own a business.
There are ways to make sure the impact of offboarding an employee is minimal. The bottom line: It should always be fair.
Make it easy on yourself and your employee by knowing a few essential guidelines.
When you fire employees quickly and without communicating the next steps, it can not only negatively impact their personal life, but it’s not good for the reputation of your business. Let’s avoid that.
Here are 8 things to know about employee offboarding:
1. HR must know right away. As soon as an employee is terminated, your next step is to contact Human Resources. Your HR team is in charge of preparing employee paperwork and updating company employment records. They can make sure offboarding is quick and straightforward every time.
2. Your company data may be at risk. According to Scott Solomon at BetterCloud, “there are many preventative measures that can be taken [when letting an employee go], many of which take place before ‘offboarding’….” Preventative measures include blocking email forwarding, resetting passwords, revoking access to applications, disabling access to sensitive information, and more as outlined in Solomon’s post here.
3. Your equipment may need to be replaced. If you loan equipment, such as computers or tools, to employees, you’ll want to double-check you have everything back that’s been loaned out. Inspect and test equipment to make sure everything’s in working condition and ready for the next user.
4. Your payroll records must be updated. In addition to contacting HR, your payroll provider must also be aware of your employee’s termination status. Be sure you have your employee’s last date of employment. Your payroll provider can guide you through dismissal paycheck requirements for your state.
There are state-specific deadlines for when an employee’s check must be released, whether they were fired or quit. Some states do not have a statute for this. Check with yours for the legal requirement.
You must also know if your state requires any unused vacation to be paid upon termination. This would be included in your employee’s final paycheck.
5. There could be lots of paperwork involved. A letter of termination, a non-disclosure agreement, and (or) a non-compete agreement are all good to have on hand. They should be signed by a manager and employee depending on the nature of the job and industry.
6. An exit interview can give you vital information. This is the last phase of offboarding. Think of it as a conversation, not necessarily an interview. You’re not grilling your former employee on what went wrong. Instead, you’re engaging them in a conversation about their experience, what could have been better, and how they can prepare for the next steps in their career.
You also want to use this time to tie up loose ends and get honest feedback on their work with your company.
7. You can always say “thank you.” When an employee leaves, and no matter how the relationship ends, be sure to thank them for the time and energy they’ve invested in your company. Saying thank you will never go unnoticed.
8. Take feedback with an open mind. Based on what was said in the exit interview, you may want to implement changes to workflows and company policies. If multiple employees address concerns over the same issue, it’s definitely time to look at those problems closely and prioritize making changes for an optimal workplace environment.
The next time you’re faced with letting an employee go, know that it’s not easy, but it’s a necessary part of doing business. Offboarding is a skill that gets easier over time, and it’s a natural part of a company’s life cycle.
As soon as you notify your employee of their termination, let HR know right away. Then, work with your IT team to secure your company’s data. Request the return of equipment. Contact your payroll provider to update employee records and prepare the final paycheck.
Once the paperwork is ready, have an exit interview—I mean, a conversation—where you’ll talk through the transition and sign any necessary paperwork. Above all, remember to show gratitude and take feedback with an open mind.
If you need support with employee onboarding and offboarding, you can count on Symply. We understand how to make each step of the process easy for you, so you never have to scramble to get the payroll part of offboarding your employee in order.