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Home » Articles » Terminating a remote employee with compassion and compliance

Terminating a remote employee with compassion and compliance

While parting ways with any worker can be difficult, terminating a remote employee presents its own unique set of considerations.

There are tons of reasons why companies decide to remove employees. In regards to remote work, engagement is a huge factor.

A Wakefield Research study for Vyopta found that 92% of executives say disengaged remote workers are unlikely to have a long-term future at their company.

This article will explore effective strategies for terminating a remote employee with compassion and compliance. We’ll also discuss how working with a reputable firm like Remote Employee could help you with hiring or offboarding off-site workers.

Things to consider when terminating a remote employee

Before we discuss strategies for terminating a remote employee, there are some things to consider pre-termination:


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Ensure all your employment documentation is in order. Relevant documents could include:

  • Employment contracts
  • Payslips
  • Other documents that verify an individual was hired or promoted within the company

A clear paper trail is crucial in demonstrating that the termination was not arbitrary but the result of due process.

Things to consider when terminating a remote employee
Things to consider when terminating a remote employee

Legal compliance

Be well-versed in the labor laws and regulations of both your location and the remote employee’s location. Compliance is non-negotiable to avoid potential legal issues.

According to ZipDo, about 60% of retaliation and wrongful termination court cases are won by employees. So, it’s best to be as thorough and fair as possible during offboarding.

Performance documentation

In addition to employment and salary documentation, compile a record of the remote employee’s performance. Include files related to their:

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  • Appraisals
  • Performance
  • Any feedback provided

This documentation can serve as evidence during the termination process.

Communication plan

Decide on the appropriate communication channels, whether a video call or a phone conversation, ensure you have all the necessary details to share.

You should prepare a termination letter that maintains professionalism and clearly states the reason for termination. Even if the individual is outsourced, you must discuss how you and your BPO partner must deal with the offboarding properly.

Severance package

Be prepared to discuss severance packages, if applicable. This includes discussing final paychecks and benefits. 

A fair and comprehensive severance package can help ease the transition.

Effective and empathetic ways of terminating a remote employee

Terminating a remote employee requires empathy, clear communication, and respect. Here’s how to handle it with care:

1. Schedule a meeting

Arrange a virtual meeting with the employee, ensuring it’s at a mutually convenient time. Respect their privacy and emotions during this difficult conversation.

2. Be direct and honest

Start the conversation with empathy, but be clear about the purpose of the meeting. Honest and direct communication is essential.

We humans have mirror neurons, which help communicate emotions when we’re with each other in person.

If you’re terminating the worker virtually, remember that it presents more challenges because emotions might not translate well.

3. Listen actively

Allow the employee to express themselves. Listen actively to their concerns and respond with compassion.

4. Provide reasons

Share the specific reasons for the termination, backed by documentation. Avoid generalizations or vague explanations.

An off-site worker’s termination may fall under the following:

  • Termination with cause. This occurs when a remote worker violates company policies.
  • Termination without cause. It happens when employment ends without specific reasons, like downsizing.
  • Termination at-will. This only applies to employees in an at-will agreement with a company. The Philippines, although a leading offshoring destination, doesn’t recognize at-will employment.

5. Offer support

Let the employee know about any available resources or assistance for their transition. Examples of these assistances are job search support or counseling services.

6. Exit interview

Conduct an exit interview to gather feedback on their experience. Doing so can help improve your remote work policies in the future.

Effective and empathetic ways of terminating a remote employee
Effective and empathetic ways of terminating a remote employee

What to do after terminating a remote employee

Once you’re done terminating a remote employee, there are essential post-termination steps to take:

1. Secure data and assets. Ensure all company equipment and data are retrieved, and system access is revoked promptly to maintain data security.

2. Communicate internally. Notify relevant team members about the termination to prevent any disruption to workflow.

3. Transition responsibilities. Reallocate the remote employee’s responsibilities among the team to maintain operational continuity.

4. Offer references. Provide a neutral and constructive reference to the terminated employee, as it’s in the best interest of both parties.

5. Review and learn. Conduct a post-mortem of the termination process to identify areas of improvement for future terminations.

Hire the best off-site workers with Remote Employee

Terminating a remote employee is a challenging aspect of managing a distributed team. But getting ahead and hiring the right workers can make a significant difference.

To minimize the need for terminations and ensure a productive remote workforce, businesses can partner with trusted staffing providers like Remote Employee.

Remote Employee assists its clients by helping them curate the perfect team. Businesses can offshore various services to skilled and experienced workers in the Philippines.

Partnering with the BPO firm will help ease your company’s recruitment and offboarding processes. 

Visit Remote Employee’s official website to learn more about how it can help you with your staffing needs.

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Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.

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