Informing employees that one of their colleagues has been terminated is a tough job. Not only is it a difficult conversation to have, but it can also cause unease in the workplace. Employees may feel their own jobs are in danger, or the rumor mill may come up with far-fetched reasons as to why that employee was let go. It’s important to carefully and strategically inform the rest of the team so as not to disrupt the flow of work in your business.
Decide on the Medium
The way you communicate the termination announcement will depend on how many employees you have and the nature of the business. If it is a small organization with an intimate team that works together, then holding a brief, in-person meeting is the best way to inform everyone. That way, you can also quickly answer any questions employees may have.
However, if you have a large group of people to inform or remote colleagues, sending out an email announcement is acceptable. Just be sure to include information about to whom employees can turn if they have any questions.
Time the Termination Announcement Carefully
In many businesses, employees who are terminated are let go at the beginning or end of the day. This causes the least amount of disruption because there are fewer people in the office. Time the termination and the subsequent announcement carefully.
For example, if you’re planning to let the employee go in the morning, have your termination announcement prepared so that you can send it out to the team right away. If you terminate the employee at the end of the day, prepare your announcement to go out early the next morning.
Don’t wait for days after the termination to make your announcement. This causes rumors and unnecessary worry among employees. They may also begin to lose trust in the organization if they feel you aren’t telling them the important details they need to know to do their jobs effectively.
Offer the Straight Facts
A termination announcement doesn’t need to sugar coat the facts. Employees will appreciate if they are given honest and clear information about what is happening in the workplace. Start the announcement by letting people know which employee has been terminated and as of what date. Tell them what will happen to their projects.
Finally, let employees know whom they can contact if they have any further questions about this issue. End the announcement by saying that you wish the employee well in future roles. An email to staff about an employee leaving should be short and to the point.
Don’t include information about why someone was terminated. This information is confidential and doesn’t need to be shared with the entire organization. Sharing this information can also violate privacy laws and put your company at risk.
Squash Rumors Before They Start
When terminations happen at work, it’s natural for employees to wonder if they will be next. Employees may fear that company-wide layoffs will be happening. They may wonder whether they should start looking for another job. Sometimes, false rumors about the reason someone was fired start spreading around the office, causing additional distress and distractions.
Address any rumors in person with the people who have shared them. Alleviate fears and worries whenever possible to help employees get back to focusing on their jobs. Be consistent in the information you provide in the termination announcement and in conversations you have with individuals regarding the termination.
Employee Termination Email Sample
As of today, John Smith is no longer employed at ABC Technology Corp. Any projects that John was involved with will now be handled by Susan Kay. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or your manager. We wish John well in all his future endeavors.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.