8 Things To Take Care Of While Firing Remote Employees

8 Things To Take Care Of While Firing Remote Employees

Firing an employee is never an easy job; however, added complications are involved when doing so remotely. Read on to make process stress-free.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many employers have begun to practice remote work for the first time, and for the first time, they have faced questions that have not arisen before, as working trends never stop changing. 

One of them is how to fire a remote employee. Under any circumstances, the firing of an employee is an inconvenient and unpleasant working moment. An easier task may be to fire employees face-to-face because the HR representative can control the conversation and the setting. 

According to a study, 92% of US executives said that remote workers who frequently mute or turn off the camera during virtual meetings “probably do not have a long-term future in their companies.” 

Firing employees remotely can be much more difficult for even the most experienced professionals. This article describes the nuances that you need to know when remotely firing employees.

How to prepare for a remote employee firing?

Although in companies that allow remote work, terminations are 25% less, they still happen. Before proceeding to fire a remote employee, it is very important to coordinate all working moments. 

To plan the time and day of firing, it is necessary foremost to discuss these points with the company's IT department. This is necessary to immediately close the employee's access to online programs, such as an email account. It is also important to terminate any formal relationship between the company and the employee immediately after the firing. 

Also, for firing a remote employee, it is important to take into account the following:

  1. Set a meeting. You can't just fire an unsuspecting employee. To do this, you need to set up a video meeting for the final conversation as if it were a personal meeting.
  2. Prepare for questions. It is worth preparing for any possible questions that employees may have during the closing meeting. They may ask about reasons for leaving, employee benefits, or recent paychecks.
  3. Plan offboarding procedures. To be able to do their work remotely, most remote workers have some level of access to the company's server and software. After firing, it is worth ensuring that the employee has been completely denied access to all confidential tools.
  4. Communicate clearly. In the final conversation, tell the employee honestly about the reasons for the firing. Depending on the reason for firing, prepare specific relevant documentation. Make sure that everything said about the reasons for firing is easy to understand, even for a non-specialist. Do not neglect non-verbal communication cues while terminating an employee.
  5. Documentation. All company representatives who were present at the final meeting must draw up a memo in the employee's personal file. It should document everything that was said during the online meeting.

Who must be present at the actual termination?

Before moving on, you must assign a representative and other participants to the remote meeting. Usually, the immediate supervisor of the remote worker is the most appropriate representative. 

It is very important that a human resources department representative and a lawyer attend the meeting. If more than one person is present at the closing meeting, this is formally a message that the decision to fire was made collectively. 

Also, other witnesses at the meeting can testify exactly how the termination of cooperation with the remote employee occurred.

How to write an official firing letter?

A very important document when firing a remote employee is a letter of termination of employment. This is due to the following: first, the content and tone of the letter reinforce the message about the end of the employment relationship. 

Secondly, if necessary, the letter can become evidence in a lawsuit. Third, to damage the company's reputation, a fired employee may post out-of-context passages on social media. The letter should clearly state that the employee is leaving for objective reasons. It should also set out all compensation and benefits that the employee may receive.

resignation letter

How should a termination letter be written?

The manager has the right to announce the firing in a letter. The notice must necessarily indicate the reason for termination of the contract with reference to the reason, for example, failure to perform the responsibilities, attendance issues, low performance or abuse of quite quitting

Without confirmation of familiarization with the drawn-up document, the organization's management cannot issue an order to terminate cooperation. It must clearly state that the decision to fire is irreversible.

The manager must also know how to tell the employee about the firing and in what period it is necessary to write a letter to avoid violating the law. The notice period for the cancellation of an employment contract depends on the reason for termination of the contract and working conditions.

How to say about termination in a team?

After a remote employee's firing, depending on the person's role in the company, the manager will need to report this to the team. It is unnecessary to go into details about why the employee was fired. 

It is better to simply inform the team that this or that employee is no longer with the company and that his contribution to the company's development is very valuable.

Follow-up virtual meetings between subordinates and the immediate supervisor can be scheduled for those who worked closely with the fired employee.

How to conduct remote firing?

policies for termination of employment

A recent study by Crunchbase shows that US-based tech firms have laid off more than 45,000 employees as of October 2022. Even if management has "good reasons" for firing an employee, this process still requires empathy for the person. 

Firing an employee remotely comes with additional difficulties. With a personal firing, people convey emotions to each other; surprise, sadness, and tension are felt in the room. In a remote termination, the one who facilitates the termination of the business relationship needs to set all the "signals of the systems" in order to create a serious but respectful and caring tone of the conversation. 

These systems include professional attire, hand gestures, proper lighting for each speaker, a slow conversation pace, and appropriate facial expressions. This is mandatory because, for many, being fired can be a big shock.

A meeting with a representative should begin with gratitude to the employee for being at the meeting. After that, the representative notifies the employee that the company has deemed it necessary to terminate the employment relationship. 

It must be emphasized that this decision has already been made and is irreversible. The conversation should include all the points that are written in the letter of resignation, which must also be notified to the employee. 

If an employee who is being terminated raises objections or questions, they should read only pre-approved responses without deviating from the termination letter that was mailed to the employee.

Why it’s essential to part ways kindly?

two employee shaking hands while termination of employee in office

Very often, due to the fact that the company cannot provide an employee with an opportunity for career growth, their paths diverge. Sometimes this decision may not be easy, but it is worth understanding that it will be better for both parties. 

Therefore, it is extremely important to support employees at such a moment, to treat them with respect. It is important to understand that the relationship with fired employees will be greatly affected by how the company will part with them.

This can also be a strong signal to the rest of the company later on, as management's actions ultimately determine what the company stands for.

If management treats a fired employee badly, then the rest of the team will later wonder how the company will behave with them if things go badly at work. This can greatly affect the overall opinion of employees about the company and their work.

Remote employee firing don'ts

For both the company and employees, firing is never easy. To do this professionally and correctly, you must avoid the following mistakes:

  • Don't improvise. The manager needs to prepare carefully before the meeting. Ready-made documents and materials will help to hold the meeting in the right direction and answer any important questions of the employee. 

Such a meeting, on average, should last about 15-20 minutes.

  • Don't negotiate. The role of the leader in the meeting is not to negotiate with the employee who is being fired to renegotiate the terms but to provide enough information and prejudice that led to the firing. 

When scheduling a meeting, the decision to terminate the employment relationship must be final; nothing the employee will say or ask should change this decision. The meeting should be short.

  • Don't make compliance difficult. In the company, for each employee, a checklist of equipment should be drawn up, which indicates the property of the company that was provided to the employee for the performance of work. For the fired employees to collect all the items for sending the equipment, you should send them a copy of this list by mail. 

To facilitate collaboration and on-time delivery, it is worth adding a checklist even for those remote employees who live nearby and plan to bring equipment to the office on their own.

  • Don't use the honor system. Sometimes frustrated employees due to being fired and having access to databases and media accounts can use them to vent their anger and frustration. Do not put off closing the accounts of laid-off employees and access to confidential company information for a long time. 

Some employees may offer to finish a project they were working on before they left, but don't agree to this. It is necessary to let employees know that someone else after them will continue to work on this project and if any questions arise, they will be contacted.

  • The rights of workers must not be violated. Severance pay is often complex and some break the law. In some states, employers may not offer severance pay in exchange for an employee agreeing not to file a discrimination lawsuit. 

To make sure that the agreement that the employer plans to use meets all the requirements, it is necessary to check this point with the local Department of Labor.

  • Don't make it public. There are situations when there is a need to immediately terminate the employment relationship with an employee, for example, if the employer has witnessed a serious violation at an online meeting. In this case, you need to remember that confidentiality is a key factor.

In this situation, you should immediately remove the employee from the meeting and arrange a private conversation. Perhaps the manager will even have to conduct an investigation to clarify all the circumstances. At this time, it is necessary to ask the employee not to return to work until the process of clarifying all the circumstances is completed.

Then, if a termination of employment is necessary, it is better to do it individually, not in front of colleagues.

When the decision to fire is obvious or there are scandalous situations, it is necessary to do it in such a way that, in any case, employees feel psychologically comfortable closing the doors of the company behind them.

Conclusion

For both the employee and the company, layoffs are never easy. The main task of the company's management is to make this process painless and as fast as possible. Do not delay this process either in person or online.

All that is needed when firing a remote employee is a brief meeting explaining all the reasons, payments that the company plans to make and the employee's rights under the law.

Tania Doshko is a motivated and avid content creator who believes in the power of quality writing for business success. She finds her inspiration in careful observations and amazement with the rapidly developing world.