This article series is written to provide you with an understanding of the difference between Voluntary and Involuntary Terminations including what a general offboarding process would look like. In this part of the series, we are going to discuss Involuntary Terminations.
When an employer has decided to end an individual’s employment, this is known as an Involuntary Termination. As the term implies, the employee is involuntarily exiting the company.
Involuntary Termination Justifications
This is when an employer decides to terminate an employee for reasons outside of their control such as layoffs, probationary periods, organizational restructuring, mergers, and so forth.
This is when an employer decides to terminate an employee for reasons within their control such as poor performance, insubordination, violation of company policies, non-compliance, and so forth.
Regardless of the termination reason, it is important to have an Involuntary Termination Offboarding Process which is handled in the same manner as the Voluntary Termination Process. However, there are subtle differences between the two.
Offboarding Process – Involuntary Terminations
As previously stated in part 1 of this series, the main purpose of having offboarding processes is to make sure each exit is treated equitably and handled with the utmost respect and sensitivity towards the terminating employee, especially when the termination may not be known. Keeping with the 3 phases of offboarding, we will discuss each part.
1. Pre-Exit Phase
In a previous article, we discussed the steps to take prior to making the final decision to terminate an employee, which is a business decision that should involve HR, Legal, and a C-Suite level position. This ensures that those who are required to know are aware of what is happening and can provide feedback to validify that the termination is in the company’s best interest.
Once this meeting has adjourned and the decision to terminate is solidified, HR will prepare the ATT Form and necessary Termination Letter(s). (Stay tuned for an article series detailing how to write Termination Letters!) This part of the process kicks off the involuntary termination offboarding process.
Initial Offboarding Communication
Communication is key when it comes to any process, however, during an involuntary termination it is crucial to handle it with the utmost confidentiality. The only internal parties who are required to know about an involuntary termination prior to the event are IT and Payroll, as IT is accountable for disabling the employee’s network access and Payroll will need to process termination pay. The main purpose for keeping this communication discrete is to reduce the risk of the termination being discussed and accidentally brought to the terminating employee’s attention.
2. Exit Day Phase
When it comes to the employee’s exit day, best practice is to conduct the termination meeting at the beginning of the workday, when there is less traffic in the office. During the termination meeting is when IT will revoke the employee’s network and company access, this way the company’s network assets are secured. After the meeting, the employee will be able to collect their personal belongings and will be escorted from the office. This is also the day where all company physical and non-physical assets are collected including hardware, software, credentials, keys, or other IP.
Pro Tip: To reduce the time spent in the office after being terminated or having an audience while the terminating employee packs their office, you can always courier their personal belongings to their home address.
Secondary Offboarding Communication
The moment the termination meeting has concluded, and the employee has been escorted from the office; you will need to action quickly and communicate the dismissal using the previously discussed Offboarding Form. Keep in mind that the only personnel who are privy to see this form are those who are directly involved with offboarding an employee.
Manager Exit Communication
Before the company-wide exit communication is sent, it is important that the manager(s) notify their staff of the departure. This way the team is notified before others and can have some comfort knowing the reasons behind the termination, if this is not already known. The main purpose of letting the team know before everyone else is so they are not surprised by others outside of the team who may come asking questions.
Employee Exit Communication
After the terminating employee has departed and the team is notified of the departure, you can communicate the departure company-wide. Remember the intent of this communication is to bring awareness to who is no longer with the company and who to contact in lieu of for everyday business.
3. Post-Exit Phase
When the employee has officially departed from the company, it is time to touch base with everyone involved in the offboarding process to ensure that their assigned tasks have been completed. The manager will want to sit down with their employees to discuss workforce planning and how tasks will be assigned to them.
Now that you have been introduced to Involuntary Offboarding and have a general understanding of what steps are included, it is time to develop one that works best for your business. This brings us to the end of this series. Always remember that a BIG Representative is just a phone call away if you need any assistance to develop a well-rounded offboarding process for your business, including expertise advise or document and flowchart creation.
Download this resource Offboarding: Part 2 – Involuntary Terminations.