How to Terminate with Dignity + [Infographic]

We’ve all heard the horror stories: The one about the worker who was mistakenly left out of a company meeting only to learn about mass layoffs after returning from lunch. Or what about the employees who came to work Monday morning to find their computers locked and belongings packed, all before even learning the company had decided to downsize. And perhaps the biggest blunder — the employees who were terminated by robocall and still went to work the next day because they thought it was a Halloween prank!

The most critical part of the employer-employee relationship happens when it ends, and in these examples the end is pretty embarrassing; no one would fault those employees for being upset. Considering the popularity of digital platforms, those employees may be tempted to take to social media and vent their frustrations. This makes a company look bad and tarnishes its brand. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Treating employees humanely throughout the entire termination process is in everyone’s best interest. GetFive introduced the idea of termination with dignity in 1998, which means treating people as human beings rather than a resource that is used and then discarded.

The process of termination should be respectful, and what you offer as compensation should show respect for the time your employees spent working at the company. In addition to offering two weeks’ severance for each year of an employee’s service, outplacement services can go a long way toward showing you genuinely care about the employee’s future. While the benefits might appear outward-facing to the terminated employee, they are also extremely important for the brand.

How so? First, handling terminations properly and offering outplacement services will help ease resentment and fear, therefore creating the general perception that the terminated employee received a “fair deal.” Thoughtful separation minimizes the trauma for departing employees, which in turn means fewer legal repercussions for companies. This immediately benefits the brand’s image.

Additionally, outplacement also helps facilitate faster transitions. By providing supportive resources, you empower employees to take control of their future. They will feel more confident moving on to the next stage in their professional lives and will likely do it much more quickly than they would without outplacement support. Providing outplacement helps employees be successful at their next job while respecting their time at your company.

Remember, every employee who has worked for you is a brand ambassador. If an employee feels the termination was respectful, they will continue to support and recommend working at your company to those in their professional network. If the relationship ends sour, the fallout can be detrimental for many years. Termination with dignity supports your ability to hire, engage and retain top talent by protecting your employer brand today and in the future.

Finally, a respectful termination offer that includes outplacement services helps existing employees see the company as a good place to work, despite the turbulent times. They’ll feel better about their jobs, they’ll be satisfied their colleagues will be OK, and morale will ultimately be better.

Smart companies treat people the same on their last day as on their first day. When onboarding, you make the employee feel comfortable and give them the training tools to succeed. During a termination, the same comfort and tools via outplacement services shouldn’t be considered an option, but a necessity. It’s right by the employee and it’s critical to the brand’s image.

Contact us to learn more about customized outplacement services for your business needs.

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