Terminating a Virtual Employee

Termination is never an easy process for the employee being terminated or for the manager doing the termination.  When possible, it should done face-to-face and many employers require an additional witness in the room with the manager and the employer.  With virtual works it is often not practical, feasible or cost-effective to bring someone to the office to terminate them.  What is a manager to do?

Firing a Virtual Employee

  • Schedule a telephone meeting to ensure that you both have time blocked on your schedules to have the conversation

terminating - schedule

  • State the facts, what is happening, when and what are your expectations.  State the official reasons.

  • Do not get emotional or personally involved.  Keep repeating the key messages.
  • Confirm that you will send a formal termination letter via email or FedEx.

  • Be very clear about next steps and expectations.
    • How will colleagues and clients be informed?
    • Is the individual done immediately or are they expected to work out a two week notice?
    • What should they do with projects in process, files, etc?
    • What is considered proprietary information and what are their legal obligations?
    • Do you require that they return office furniture, materials, etc.?
    • Do you need processes or projects documented before the person leaves?
    • Be sure to send the official termination letter
    • Stay in touch and ensure that things are wrapped up to your satisfaction

terminating - 4

I know of a virtual employee who was fired after many years at the company by a letter sent FedEx.  It was a very impersonal and highly insulting approach.



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