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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

How to Exit Employees in a Positive Way

Redundancies, firings, dismissals and resignations are a fact of life in most businesses. Moreover, the rising talent shortage and attrition give HR departments headaches. These issues reflect the fact that the modern job market is becoming a highly dynamic ecosystem. People that garner lifelong loyalty to one company seem to be a dying breed. This has serious implications on our ability to attract and retain talent. We can, however, prevent negative tendencies from impacting productivity, engagement and company reputation.

So, whether you decided to fire an employee or have someone who looks ready to jump ship, you should have an exit tactic in place.

Exit stage left

Hiring and retention strategies are crucial aspects of running a business, but they must not overshadow the exit dimension. After all, modern job seekers have a myriad of opportunities at their fingertips. Often times, their departure is out of your hands. And yes, exiting them is seldom an easy and pleasant task. Still, there is much you can do to foster a supportive and open environment. This should enable you to make the best out of a bad situation and shield the company from major and minor setbacks.

First of all, both parties need to make an effort to set emotions aside. They have to realize that (preferably) parting ways does not have any personal weight. Business is business. There is certainly no need to burn bridges and break all ties with former employees. You do not want them going around complaining and tarnishing your good reputation. So, have an open conversation and refrain from alienating them and frowning upon them.

Congratulate them on the new opportunity and do not hold grudges. To go the extra mile, throw a farewell event on or before the last day. Furthermore, note that an exit interview is a great opportunity to generate valuable feedback and ensure that you part on good terms. Thus, come up with a list of questions. Ask about the pros and cons of your organizational structure, workflow, business practices, culture, and other stuff. Acquire suggestions on how to fine-tune core processes and policies.  

Playing by the book

To make things easier and steer clear of feuds and conflicts, you should have a set of written workplace policies. What is more, executives and managers must be committed to enforcing them without double standards and expectations. Oral agreements and informal reassurances do not cut it really. Having strong, responsible and competent leadership is the only way to tackle constant change and carry out smooth transitions.

So, you need to meet legal and legislative requirements, even when handling cases of blatant misconduct and serious underperformance. Get familiar with rules regarding dismissal, notice, and final play. Adhere to the principles of procedural fairness and make decisions based on predetermined rules, such as those of performance management, assessing, and monitoring.

Tying it up

It helps if there is a clear employee contract stating the steps in the case of an exit. Also, when resigning, employees should present a letter of resignation that states details like the effective date. Ideally, they are ready to work out the contractual notice period. Likewise, keep an eye on work policies of redundancy and termination that define breach of employment contract and consequences of such behavior.

Beyond that, an employee that is on the way out should remain motivated and productive until their last moment there. This minimizes operative interruptions and hiccups in the workload. Another thing you can do is plan ahead on how to reassign task and duties to other workers. Start the hiring process to find a suitable replacement.

Remember to revoke the employee’s access to company’s systems. Reclaim any company property if needed. Notify others of changes taking place, especially the key staff, contacts and customers. Finally, calculate the final pay and factor in all allowances, including outstanding wages, annual leave, redundancy pay, etc.

No loose ends

In the tumultuous business world, we cannot avoid sudden and unexpected exits. They can be bad news alright, but it all comes down to being prepared for exit scenarios. Thus, have a succession plan and try to end the cooperation on a positive note.  Reduce the amount of stress and disruption that an exit generates.

Do everything you can to maintain goodwill. Handle the situation gracefully and professionally. Follow procedures and steps set by policies and law. Understand and respect workers’ life decision to move on. Take the chance to reflect on your business and gain insights into why people decide to leave in the first place.

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