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
- 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
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.