Remotely Firing an Employee: A Guide

The time has come to address the situation of an employee who has not been performing to the required standard. This has had an adverse effect on the team and decisive action must be taken. Therefore, I am proposing that we consider implementing remote dismissal procedures.

As a manager with more than 10 years’ experience leading both remote and in-person teams, I understand the advantages that come with positions of authority. Nevertheless, there are certain duties that can be less than desirable, such as the difficult task of dismissing an employee.

What follows is a rundown of the steps and strategies I’ve developed for carrying out a remote termination in a manner that:

  • Seems like a compromise that would satisfy everyone
  • Keep the employee’s feelings of loss to a minimum
  • It’s the key to a good night’s rest

Managing the Expenses of a Dismissal

Become a More Effective Leader.

It is the practice of some employers to terminate employees without notice or explanation, which can leave the employee feeling disheartened. This can be likened to the experience of receiving a text from an ex-partner saying something along the lines of, “It’s over; it’s not you, it’s me; I need time for myself, blah blah blah”. As a manager, it is advised to treat employees with the respect they deserve and to provide clear communication regarding changes in employment status.

Ask yourself, “How can I make this as right as possible for this employee?” before carrying out a remote termination.

Even though this is an unfortunate situation, you will not be the one facing dismissal. It is important to take a compassionate approach. At the same time, it is crucial to consider performance and remuneration.

In an ideal world, your contract would contain explicit details of what each party could expect from the other. However, in reality, this is not always the case. It may not be cost-effective to keep an employee on until the end of the month, and it is possible that your contract does not address this situation. Therefore, it is advisable to review the results achieved by the staff in order to determine if their monthly objectives have been successfully met.

Write “WRITE BETTER CONTRACTS” in a prominent place on your computer screen as a reminder.

(As a side note, having an HR or contracting firm handle these matters on your behalf may alleviate a lot of stress. That’s us, Works, by the way.

Should the response be ‘No’, it is essential to reach a compromise between all parties. Consider both their past performance and the work that needs to be completed prior to their departure.

Let Them Complete The Major Projects

It may be beneficial to allow them to finish their current task, even if they are performing well, so that you can be prepared for the next hiring process.

It is important to ensure that employees are given adequate time to complete their tasks. Regardless of how the individual is leaving their position, it is likely to have a detrimental effect on team morale. Therefore, it is best to make the transition as swift and efficient as possible, much like the samurai in old Japanese movies. If the issue is not addressed, it could cause unnecessary distress for everyone involved.

If the role cannot be unfilled for an extended period of time, if at all, then it may be necessary to consider hiring new personnel before considering redundancies. This is clearly not an ideal situation.

It may be beneficial to introduce the new team member in a subtle manner. Although there may be an attempt to keep the recruitment process confidential, this can make it difficult to relax. It can be difficult to witness someone work when their fate is uncertain, so it can be useful to provide them with this information before initiating the recruitment process.

Make Sure They Know Before the Rest of the Group

It is advisable to wait until the employee is aware of the situation before informing the rest of the team. This allows the employee to make their own decision, meaning that it is likely that some individuals will find out before the team as a whole.

It is essential to consider the departing employee’s preferences when determining how to handle the situation. Depending on their role and the team structure, some options may not be possible. However, overall, it is important to let the employee depart in a way that suits them best.

Don’t Ignore the Need for Safety and Protection

Before the presentation, it is important to ensure that all access to sensitive corporate files has been disabled. If in a physical building, security personnel should accompany the individual out of the building. It is essential to determine an exact stopping point in order to convey this information during “The Conversation”. We will be in contact to arrange a suitable time for the individual to return to their office and complete any necessary clean up.

Remotely Firing Someone: 5 Steps to Take

Be sure you have good intentions.

It is important to ensure that there is a valid reason behind the decision to terminate a remote worker. In cases where an employee has been performing to a satisfactory standard but has recently begun to underachieve, it is advisable to investigate other avenues of resolution such as engaging in dialogue with the employee.

If the person’s performance fails to improve despite multiple conversations, and this is having an adverse effect on the team’s output, it may be necessary to terminate the individual’s employment.

Formulate an off-Boarding Strategy

The offboarding process is an essential part of the termination process for remote workers. Both the onboarding and offboarding of personnel require careful planning and consideration. Therefore, this necessitates a considered and thorough approach.

  • Make sure the departing worker has completed a thorough documentation of all their duties.
  • Take away their ability to access any corporate funds.
  • Make sure they return any business equipment they may be using.
  • Bonus and salary administration together with any other HR-related duties.

Keep Your Conversations Simple and Direct

Terminating an employee is never an easy task, particularly when it is done remotely. However, it is important to make sure that the employee fully understands the reasons for the termination. Having a direct and honest discussion is preferable to prolonging the conversation, as this may prevent the employee from fully understanding the situation.

It is with regret that I must inform you that your employment with us has been terminated. I would like to assure you that this decision was not taken lightly and was made with careful consideration.

Invariably Through Video Call

Remote termination can be an emotionally challenging situation. Where possible, face-to-face communication should be sought as the most effective means of conveying news of this nature. Though the lack of physical contact may prevent the offering of comfort in a tangible form, positive words of encouragement and support can still be provided.

It is advised that communicating via Zoom (or an alternative video platform) will make the process easier and less cumbersome for both parties involved. It is important to be aware that some employees may react adversely, so it is beneficial to be prepared for any potential responses.

Inform the Group

Once you have had the conversation with the employee, the next step is to communicate the information to the team. It is recommended to contact them via telephone and advise them of the reasons for the termination. Alternatively, the announcement may be made over Slack or via email.

Procedure for Firing a Teleworker

It is essential to take a moment to assess one’s posture before beginning a discussion. Being overly casual or relaxed can give off the impression of disrespect, so it is important to approach the situation with a sense of compassion and empathy.

It is regrettable, but it is evident that this individual does not bring sufficient value to warrant them remaining part of our staff or organization. It is clear that the best course of action is to end their employment.

Taking this into account, let’s strive to reduce any unnecessary distress. Your body language is very significant in this instance. Video conferencing is paramount for communication with remote employees. It may be tempting to terminate someone over the phone, but it is not advised. The solution is that it would be easier in the short term. Nonetheless, it is likely to cause regret in the long run.

Once you have settled in, let’s not waste time with small talk; this can create an uncomfortable atmosphere. It is clear that a problem is present and it would be beneficial to discuss it without delay. Let’s get straight to the point.

I’d like to be upfront with you, it is clear that our working relationship is not succeeding. As we are unable to maintain your employment, I would like to arrange a meeting with you to determine an agreeable way to end our working relationship. I have a proposed framework which can be used as-is or adapted to suit your needs.

It is essential to consider all components of the situation. It is important to treat the employee as an equal in the conversation. We must both be aware of this. In order to make a decision, it is necessary to be clear and unambiguous. We are unable to maintain the employee in their current role, therefore it is necessary to be direct and to the point. This decision is final and cannot be contested. The phrase “You’re fired!” is a clear and decisive way to end the discussion.

I mean, where do we go from here?

I guess you might just attempt to be as helpful as you can.

“Why don’t you try to be helpful? I’m going to fire this individual!

Yes, we have encountered this situation previously. It is you we are referring to. Unfortunately, it is not a positive situation. In fact, we were discussing this subject only a few paragraphs ago. Let us set aside our feelings of guilt and see if there is anything we can do to provide support to the individual who has lost their job.

Providing prompt assistance in their job search is the best way to demonstrate your support. If there are other factors in addition to their lack of competence that have led to this situation, this should be relatively straightforward.

A letter of recommendation is something that can be provided to departing employees. I have found it easy to provide sincere praise for employees who have had to leave due to a change in the company’s focus. I have also endeavored to supplement their resumes and online profiles with glowing recommendations and, where possible, to provide connections to potential employers.

It is unlikely that this situation will occur often; however, should it arise, it can be seen as a successful transformation of a potentially difficult situation for all three parties involved, resulting in a positive outcome for everyone. This is a truly admirable outcome.

If an employee’s performance is unsatisfactory and dismissal is necessary, it may be difficult to provide support when working remotely. However, the situation is not without hope.

It is worth considering whether this individual may be a good fit for another organization. While it is true that not everyone is able to meet the same level of expectations, this could be advantageous to certain companies. Consequently, a reference may still be provided, although it may not be wholly positive.

It is important to focus on the individual in front of you, rather than dwelling on any mistakes made by a previous colleague. Everyone has something to offer and by making an effort, you can ensure that the most is made of the situation.

It is important to provide constructive criticism to help someone to succeed. When providing feedback, it is essential to ensure that two points are kept in mind:

It is essential to ensure that your opinion and input are valued. If in doubt, simply ask. Unless explicitly requested, it is not appropriate to offer advice to an employee who has been dismissed.

Ensure that they are aware of the constructive nature of your comments. Please be aware that this is not a second chance and the decision to terminate their employment has been made.

It is important to provide feedback on the performance of the individual in question. It is advisable to remain sensitive to their emotional state and not to overelaborate or use strong language. The best approach is to take a diplomatic approach, similar to that of a special forces team: take stock of the situation and provide constructive feedback before departing.

If none of the available options is suitable, please rest assured that we will do our utmost to ensure a smooth transition. Let us now discuss what this entails.

Concluding Remarks

With complete honesty, it is uncommon to terminate remote workers as they are typically very successful in terms of their output and outcomes. Our unique process makes the process of finding and managing a remote worker much easier. Not only do we locate the most suitable remote worker for you, we also manage all of the financial and human resources elements of the job. Is this of interest to you? If so, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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