Eventually, every employer has to end the employment of one of their workers. This can be a stressful time for some and for others it might be a process they’re used to doing. Whether you’re used to this process or not it’s important to conduct a termination meeting. The meetings allow for a time to discuss the decision behind the termination and to tie up any loose ends such as the final paycheck. We’ve provided a checklist to help employers conduct a successful termination meeting.
Checklist for Termination Meeting
- Conduct the meeting at a convenient time for the employee. Make sure it’s held in a private location so that it’s easier for the employee to leave without a fuss in the office. If there’s a time when the office isn’t as full as it usually is, try to schedule it during that time frame.
- Inform the employee of the effective date of the termination, and schedule an exit interview for that date, if applicable.
- Be clear and truthful about why the employee is being terminated. Don’t try to make the problems seem worse or seem more minor than they are, be up front but keep to a general script. The employee will most likely ask questions, so be prepared to give answers and to stop giving answers if the questions become too much.
- Stick to your decision. The employee may argue or ask for reconsideration, but it’s important to firmly and compassionately reinforce that the decision is final. Repeat the reasons for termination once, and politely end the conversation if the employee continues to argue. If applicable, mention that alternative decisions were considered, but in the end, termination was decided on by management.
- Go over a written summary of benefits with the employee. The benefits should include, where applicable, severance pay, compensation for vacation and sick time, the continuation of health and life insurance benefits, and other benefits and reemployment assistance.
- If confidentiality or non-compete agreements were signed when the employee was hired, review the terms of those documents. Ensure that the employee knows what is expected following their termination.
- Provide the employee with their final paycheck on the last day. If the employee is leaving immediately after the meeting, have their check and benefits or vacation payouts ready for them to take, and instruct them on collecting their personal belongings and leaving the premises. If state law allows, it’s acceptable to give the employee their final paycheck after their last day. Giving the employee their check during their last day is the recommended way because it’s a cleaner process, but if that’s not what happens make sure to tell the employee when they can expect their final paycheck and what it will include.
Steps to take if the meeting isn’t their last day
- Outline what will happen during the termination process, such as how to return company property and the logistics of their last day at work.
- Inform them of how the transition of projects and responsibilities will go leading up to their termination date.
- Make sure that on the employee’s last day that their access to systems and facilities will be removed.
- At the end of the meeting mention that you will follow up if necessary. Tell them you will possibly reach out to them regarding any unreturned company property or the status of their 401(k).
The best way to conduct a successful termination meeting is to be straightforward and firm about your decision. Use our checklist as guidelines to have a smooth termination meeting.