An issue with an employee has come to a head and you can no longer tolerate them in your company. Or you’ve found that the business needs to downsize and eliminate some people. Either way, you have the unenviable task of letting an employee go. An employee might also quit. In any of these cases, you need to get yourself ready for the change from employee to ex-employee. That means doing things like having an exit interview, canceling corporate credit cards, and retrieving company equipment.
None of the following four tasks are pleasant, but they’re necessary. You need to shield the business from maliciousness and liability in order to move forward.
Cancel the Corporate Credit Cards
This should be done as soon as the employee walks out of the building or sooner. You need to protect the company from any adverse action ex-employees might take with a company credit card. It’s not about thinking poorly about them so much as it’s hoping for the best but assuming the worst. An employee may have written down the card number at home, or even gone so far as to clone it. You want to make sure that no one can use the card for purchases. There are a number of hassles that come with an ex-employee using a corporate card, and none of them are ones you want to deal with. Be proactive and cancel the card.
Do an Exit Interview
An exit interview is an opportunity to clear the air between the company and the employee. Sometimes a firing or resignation isn’t about an employee’s performance so much as it’s about incompatibilities or simply that the company doesn’t need the employee’s services anymore.
It’s also an opportunity for you to tell ex-employees what they did wrong or for them to air their own grievances. You can also let them know of any intentions you have to give them a further reference or talk about their unemployment benefits. It doesn’t have to be an adversarial meeting if you do it right.
Retrieve Company Equipment
Make sure you get every last piece of equipment back, including company smartphones and access cards. You don’t want a disgruntled employee returning to your business and ruining something that’s valuable.
You need to handle the turning in of the smartphone carefully. First go over the phone and have the employee remove all personal information that they want to keep. Then go through the device to make sure nothing’s left behind that you can be held liable for. Once everything’s finished, you need to reset the phone. You may be asking yourself how to reset an iPhone in order to leave nothing behind. This simple operation wipes all personal information and returns the phone to factory settings.
Also make sure to change access passwords on any devices and lock the ex-employee out of access points at the IT level.
Terminate Insurance Coverage
Once employees have left your company, they are no longer entitled to their benefits. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to inform him or her of the change in the status of any individual. This avoids liability issues that can arise if ex-employees have health issues or other incidents. If their insurance hasn’t been terminated and they use it, you may find that you’re liable for further coverage even though they’re not your employees anymore.
In case of employee departure, remain calm, don’t respond to anger, and don’t let yourself get baited into an argument. It’s an unpleasant situation, but it has to be done to protect the company from further problems. It never gets easier, but it does prepare you for the next time it happens.