We recently had a professional level staff person quit and it did not go very well. As a company we are subjected to certain reporting requirements regarding terminations to meet industry regulations that were not met. Would you provide me with some tips to make sure that I don’t have a repeat in the future?
This is a great question. Whenever a staff member leaves it can be stressful. While I don’t often hear about reporting issues like you describe, I do frequently learn about issues with transitioning responsibilities and key information such as procedures. Fortunately, the process for both is similar.
First, make sure that your company has a policy in place that standardizes the termination process. This policy should apply to all terminations regardless of reason. Examples of issues that may be covered in this policy are:
- If quitting, amount of notice that is expected
- Returning company property (keys, computers, etc.)
- Distribution of final paycheck
- Exit interview policy
- Any consequences for not following policy or other requirements
Next, review your industry requirements and make notes on additional issues and reporting that apply.
Use the policy and regulation information to create a checklist of things that you need to do and place it where you can easily locate it. If some items apply to only one class of employee, either indicate those items clearly, or create a separate checklist for each class that has differing requirements.
Using a checklist is helpful because it:
- Provides concrete guidance during a stressful time
- Reminds you of tasks you don’t frequently complete.
Plan on going over this checklist or form with the employee. Allow sufficient time for the employee to thoroughly review the content, for you to answer any questions, and for both of you to date and sign it. Make a copy for the employee and keep the original for your records.
If there are firm deadlines or consequences for not completing requirements, be sure to explain them thoroughly during this meeting. These should also be included in writing on the checklist or form.
When setting deadlines and creating consequences keep them realistic. If you know you will not follow through, don’t threaten to do it. Also, avoid setting deadlines for end of the day Friday. If the employee does not follow through then you are left with two weekend days before you are able to follow through on stated consequences.
Finally, there are many issues with departing employees that can expose your company to liabilities. Therefore, it’s very important to consult your HR or Personnel department if anything unusual happens. If your company is too small to have an HR department, then consult an HR consultant or lawyer if you have any questions.