Organizations are familiar with employee disengagement processes. Be direct, keep it short, walk the employee out the door, shut down access to email, retrieve all company property, communicate to staff etc. Employee disengagement through such means can cause legal suit and reputational damage if not handled well. Most importantly when processes leading to such disengagement is not done properly.

But the truth is that employee disengagement should be not hostile, it must be humane and beneficial to all parties involved in the process. The exit process must be development out of a company culture that is not antagonistic. Separation must all times be transparent so exit interviews can be honest.

You don’t blindside an underperforming employee or fire him/her outright. Instead, you encourage such an employee to leave on his/her own by letting him/her know he/she is going to be disengaged and will need to start looking for a new job quickly. They will feel respected and valued when they are pre informed of coming events, many cannot handle the surprises that comes with joblessness and its effect. This assist them to plan their career life and prepare adequately for retirement. The organization really has no interest in destabilizing its employees or cause them any surprise. If not for anything at all, their loyalty and contribution to the business must be appreciated.

A more respected and humane exit process has its own benefits for both the employer and employee. However, employers have not really paid attention to it, most separation has been hostile and has been characterized by disagreement that destroys a rather wonderful relationship.

As with a typical termination, ambiguity is unacceptable. Be clear that your decision is final (presumably the discussion is coming after a performance improvement plan has been in place, but the needed improvement has not materialized). This clarity encourages the employee to start a job search immediately rather than trying to negotiate with you about keeping their job.

When an employer settles on an arrangement with such an employee, they have to be allowed to leave the office during work hours for interviews or other search-related activities, but that must be minimized and kept brief to avoid raising questions especially so it doesn’t affect their performance.

Though the employee isn’t a good fit for your company, they may be a great fit for another one. Helping them encourages trust and increases the chances of finding a new role quickly and land on their feet. An offer can be made to serve as a referee for such an employee considering the fact that they may have worked with you for many years and have built some trust and respect with you.

It is much easier to find a job if you’re already employed. Unemployed candidates are unfortunate victims of a natural bias during the hiring process; although it’s unfair, hiring managers are more likely to consider employed talent than to consider applicants who are unemployed. And asking someone to start looking for a new job elsewhere while still employed by you helps preserve their dignity and reputation.
The organization benefits from the below if the disengagement process is managed to the mutual benefit of all parties;

Improved relationships: Relationships with employees who have gone through transparent separations must be strengthened. It must be managed such that they will feel appreciated; a manager can offer to serve as a reference for an existing staff. A demonstration of care even outside the office on how they are doing will be much appreciated; they should be able to call for advice or visit when need be.

Enhanced reputation:  It makes employees anxious when their managers are known for unexpected exiting of staff. With transparent separations, managers aren’t cast in this adversarial role; departing employees talk about the new job they’re leaving for rather than about being blindsided by a surprise disengagement. Exiting staff will speak well of the organization, its people and the brand image.

Smoother transitions:  Separations that give an employee time to find a new role also give managers time to hire a good replacement. Employees do keep working to the best of their ability to the end. The handing over becomes easier and workflow doesn’t suffer.

Reduced legal risk:  Many terminations/dismissals risk litigation, and a manager’s responsibility is to minimize this. Employees may sue when they are angry, when they feel they’ve been treated unfairly, or when they’re struggling to find work and a lawsuit seems like a way to make ends meet. Managers should not expose their employer to avoidable law suits.

Every employee has experienced having a colleague “disappeared.” Your friend and colleague is sitting next to you one day, and the seat/workstation becomes empty suddenly. Nonetheless, surviving colleagues will inevitably learn the truth, including whether the termination/dismissal was rushed, on merit and respectfully handled. As mentioned, employees who feel they can be blindsided by a termination/dismissal at any time are persistently anxious.

In many instances, they respond to the persistent threat they feel by being more self-promotional and political, avoiding disagreement with their managers, and avoiding innovation because failing feels so risky and becomes a potential threat to their jobs. Employees who feel safe from the threat of unexpected termination tend to be happier, more creative, and less likely to preemptively leave.

In situations where there is a mass reduction in workforce, laying off employees, it will not be feasible to provide transparent separation to everyone, and if you can’t provide it to everyone, then it’s not advisable to provide it to a few. Another situation where transparent separation won’t work is when an employee is being let go because of a problem that is detrimental to other employees, the company or its clients, rather than, simply, because of performance related concerns. For example, if a manager’s toxicity or management style is having a negative impact on his or her employees, customers; the manager needs to leave immediately.

Human Resource professionals and practitioners should adopt a friendlier means of employee disengagement than what we have all experienced. The positive outcomes from such an exiting strategy will speak for itself.

Source: BrightAmpaduOkyere/

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