Announcing Employee Termination: What to Tell Staff

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announcing employee termination

Every company, even the best companies to work for, get to a point where they have to let go of an employee for one reason or another. The employee in question could be a bad hire or their role becomes redundant. Either way, announcing an employee’s termination is like walking a tight rope. It is a tricky balance between not giving enough information and leaving employees more confused and saying too much and leaving them indignant. Also, to be quite frank, it is not easy delivering bad news. Here are tips for taking the right approach.

Communicate Immediately

announcing employee termination

Taking an ‘out of sight, out of mind approach’ can be so tempting, but don’t even entertain the thought. Lack of communication to the rest of the team can result in; gossip spreading within the company, fear spreading and employees get into job-search mode, erosion of trust in management, and irreparable damage to office communication.

During the official communication, ensure to nip rumors in the bud, address all concerns and above all, keep your delivery simple and within good, consistent company policies.

Keep the Delivery Free from Drama

The best approach in the case is to share only facts. Avoid explanations and justifications. Just state simple facts, as shown below;

X no longer works with our company. Our transition plan during this period is ABC until we find a suitable replacement. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to Y.

Such a delivery whether on email or in a meeting presents facts and leaves no room for unnecessary information.

Choose the Appropriate Medium of Communication and Timing

Your method of communication to employees on an employee termination depends on the size of your organization and the relationship of the said employee with the rest.

When to Communicate

It is true what they say about timing. Timing is everything. You do not have to break the news of the termination immediately. Take some time and gather your thoughts. Direct reports and department members can be told within the hour while the rest can be informed the next day.

The catch here is not to rush or delay the announcement too much.
Also on timing, choose to relieve the employee of their duties when it is least disruptive to the rest of the team, for instance, in the evening.

How to Communicate

The medium of communication is also dependent on the size of the organization, culture and level of employee. If the employee worked with a certain group of people, gather them in a quick meeting and make the announcement. If their work did not directly affect a lot of people in the company, a quick email is okay.

Maintain Professionalism Through Out

It is normal to feel anger and disappointment, especially where gross misconduct and bitter exchanges have flown around. Even so, resist the urge to criticize the employee. It will only make the situation more complex.
Do not comment on the employee’s reason for termination. It not only creates room for speculation and rumors. It may also expose the company to legal consequences if the termination prompts legal action.

It is Inevitable

announcing employee termination
You will have to have the talk eventually. Why not prepare to ensure you are ready to handle the situation. Create a communication plan and back it with policies and company processes.

Be consistent in how you handle these matters. If people know what to expect they understand the procedure behind it and rest assured that due process will be followed.

It is important for employees in the company to understand that your company values them, and if one is not a good fit there is a process that involves coaching, training. Only when that doesn’t work will they be required to exit gracefully.

How to Fill an Urgent Role

Should you find yourself with a sudden urgent role that requires filling, BrighterMonday has a solution that incorporates state of the art technology and qualified HR experts to get you the right fit faster. 

Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.