When Terminating an Employee Remotely

With many more employees working from home because of the pandemic, companies have had to make adjustments in the way they do things. Even with the help of technology, working with people in different locations presents unique challenges.

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One of those challenges arises when you need to let an employee go remotely. Doing it long distance requires some extra measures and preparation. Here are a few tips.

  1. Set up a meeting

When terminating an employee in person, you would usually set up a meeting, telling him or her you have something important to talk about. You would never simply end a conversation with, “By the way, you’re fired.”

The same etiquette applies to remote workers. It is simply bad form to abruptly send an email to the person telling them they’ve been terminated. Set up a virtual meeting first so you can give the person the time and attention they deserve. With remote workers, this may involve taking different time zones into account.

Also, during the meeting set up a time for a virtual exit interview and a timeline leading up to the employee’s exit from the company.

  1. Be open and honest

When talking with the person, be up front about the reasons for the termination. The news will most likely not be entirely unexpected if it is performance related because it will be the final step in a process. The person should be well aware of the issues that led to this point.

You also need to inform other employees about the termination and be ready to answer questions about the impact on them and the company.

  1. Be ready for questions

The employee will probably have a number of questions about their termination, questions related to administrative details such as severance pay and benefits. You may want to have someone from your human resources department sit in on the meeting to answer these types of questions. The employee will also probably have questions surrounding the reasons for the termination.

Again, it is important to be open and honest about the situation. This should help to maintain an amicable relationship with the employee, and he or she deserves no less.

You should prepare for these questions in advance. Put together written notes about everything that is likely to be discussed. This is a good precautionary measure to take in the event that the employee decides to take any legal action against the company.

  1. Be aware of the legal requirements

A remote employee could be in a location far away from the company, and the laws where they’re located could be different from those where the company is located. As a result, the manager needs to be aware of the different legal requirements that may affect the termination.

  1. Determine how equipment will be returned

Often companies supply remote employees with equipment to enable them to do their job and communicate with coworkers. If you are terminating a person, you need to work out a way for the equipment to be returned. This can usually be accomplished by having the employee ship it back, with the company covering the cost.

It is important to plan ahead to work out the details and prepare for different possible outcomes.

  1. Cut off the employee’s electronic connections

Remote employees have access to a company’s digital information from their home. To protect this information, you need to cut off their access to all company information immediately after their termination.

You may also want to make backups for any information available to the person and change passwords.

If you’ve had to let someone go and need a replacement quickly – even if the person worked remotely – contact the Helpmates branch nearest you. We have many terrific temporary specialists ready to get to work quickly, even remotely!

Why a Flexible Workforce is No Longer a “Want” But a “Need”

Used to be, many employers used temporary workers, independent contractors or freelancers only sporadically, such as during employee illness, leaves of absence or during the holiday season. But things have changed – savvy employers now use these temporary folks much more strategically.

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Companies need to make sure their workforces are agile and flexible enough to respond quickly to changing conditions, and to do this, they rely on contingent labor.

They use contingent workers for a number of different situations:

  1. For specific skills

If an employer has a short-term project that requires a special set of skills, they can use temporary workers to handle it. Also, by repeatedly using the same people for these special projects, the company builds relationships with these workers, and managers know they have reliable expertise available when needed.

  1. To handle work regular employees don’t have time for

If there is work that always seems to be unfinished because employees are too busy handling more important matters, companies can use contingent labor to clean up the outstanding assignments.

  1. Surges in demand

During certain times of the year (such as the holidays for retailers and summer for amusement parks), some companies can expect higher demand, and contingent labor can help them handle the increased workload during that time.

Background Checks Even More Important

It takes new hires a good deal longer than contingent workers to become fully productive because they don’t have to be introduced to all of the company’s processes, procedures and culture. They simply come in and begin working on their assignment.

But, as with regular workers, the performance of a temporary worker depends on their skill level. So, it is just as important to know about the temporary worker’s background. That means verifying all of the information on the resume to ensure it is accurate and also contacting references.

This is where staffing companies can help. The company will do the work of screening all the applicants, perform background checks, and will send you only the ones that fit closely with the job description.

It may also help to administer a skills assessment to the applicant to evaluate their technical ability to do the job.

A Blended Workforce

A blended or hybrid workforce is one that consolidates both full-time employees and contingent workers. To get the most out of such an arrangement, a company would probably have to tweak its culture a bit to allow for greater integration of the temporary workers.

A blended workforce culture is one that also incorporates remote workers into its operations to fully utilize the contingent workers, who sometimes may even work remotely.

Communication Is Key

When a company is moving to add more contingent workers, communication is critical. Company leadership needs to inform employees what is happening – the changes that are taking place and why the company is taking this particular course of action.

The company needs to spell out any changes to policies and procedures. It’s also important to assuage concern among regular, full-time employees about the increase in temporary and/or contract workers because regular employees may feel threatened. They need to know that the move is not a threat to their job security, but just the opposite, a way of enabling them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Need some flexible workers? Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you to speak with one of our recruiters about your workforce needs.

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