No matter how carefully you select and hire your remote workers, there will probably come a time when you will have to fire one of them.
And that’s not easy to do.
In an ideal world, there would never be any need to fire anyone, but this is something that you cannot always avoid.
Sometimes the person is just not a good fit for your company. And putting off firing a remote worker just for the sake of avoiding an uncomfortable conversation can seriously damage your business.
You will probably feel anxious about it – especially if you never had to fire anyone before.
But like everything in life, the process becomes much easier if you prepare.
That’s why we have compiled a short checklist of things you need to know. Here are the top 5 things to consider if you’re thinking of firing a remote worker.
1. Be Sure of Your Decision
Everybody knows that firing isn’t an easy decision.
Depending on the size of your team it may have an effect on the company productivity regardless of well how you handle it. Hiring a replacement worker will take time and effort, and there are many downsides to having a high turnover rate.
So, before moving to the next step, you should be 100% sure of your decision.
Think about it – how long have you had problems with your employee? Are they constantly performing poorly and missing deadlines? Or has this only become a problem recently?
Before taking any drastic steps, you should reach out and directly discuss the issue with them. Explain that you are not satisfied with their performance, give them your feedback and establish a performance improvement plan. Don’t terminate a working relationship with someone before you give them a chance to improve.
This is not only for their sake. Don’t forget – a replacement worker will take time to adjust to your team, so it’s always best to keep the workers that you already have IF you can get them to perform well.
Fire your employee only if you’re absolutely sure that it’s the right choice.
2. Set a Date
Once you are completely certain that you need to fire an employee, you need to set a date in your calendar. This will not only help you get accustomed to the idea; it will also give you time to mentally prepare.
Also, consider giving them a severance package of a few weeks’ pay to ease their transition, especially if they were a part of your company for a longer period of time.
3. Do It Face-To-Face
The best policy is to always fire your employees in person. For remote workers, this is not usually possible, so the next best thing is to do it through a video call.
Think about what you’re going to say – the goal is to keep it as short as possible while relaying all the necessary information. Avoid getting into an argument and make it clear that your decision is final. Also, try to find a balance between being too professional and being too friendly.
It’s always a good idea to have documentation to support your decision, so take the time to gather the employee’s performance reviews.
If you are anxious about the meeting or unsure of how to handle the conversation, consider taking expert HR advice or asking other business owners about their experience.
4. Let Them Ask Questions
Although you should never get into a heated discussion, you should explain why you’re terminating the relationship. Keep it short and simple.
If you had previously had discussions with them about their poor work performance, then they will probably understand why you had made the decision.
However, be ready to answer their questions. Offer all the support you can – discuss the final payment details, letter of recommendation, and other issues. Let them know that you truly want to help make the process as easy as possible.
Remember – if you hired a person and they didn’t reach your expectations, the blame is partially yours. Either you hired someone who wasn’t right for the job, or someone who wasn’t a good fit with the rest of your team. That’s why you should do everything in your power to help them through the difficult process.
Stay on the video call as long as you need to answer all their questions and let them end the conversation if at all possible.
5. Notify Your Staff
As you terminate the relationship with your employee, you need to make sure that they no longer have access to company data and logins. It’s best to assign another team member to take care of this. However, you might want to let them have access to basic messaging apps such as Slack for a short period of time. This way, they can say goodbye to their former co-workers.
All that is left to do now is to inform the rest of your employees.
This is really important when it comes to remote workers. Members of the team usually depend on one another and firing one remote worker might disrupt the workflow for everyone.
Additionally, they might worry about their own positions in the company. It’s best to inform them about the process as soon as possible and let them know if a replacement worker is going to be hired and when. This will help you avoid any potential problems in productivity and communication.
This is our checklist for parting ways with remote workers. Remember – clearly communicate your decision, but remain helpful and friendly. Also, firing is not easy nor cheap, so think about the experience and use it to make improvements to your hiring process.
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