The Challenges of High-Risk Remote Terminations During COVID-19

November 2, 2020

Spot Critical Warning Signs During a High-Risk Remote Termination

The ongoing pandemic has created challenges for remote workforces. As the market fluctuates, managers have the difficult task of terminating employees over a video call, a conversation that would typically be saved for an in-person meeting.

How an employer lays off its employees reflects directly on the company's reputation; if the process is done poorly, other employees may begin to resent the employer, causing tremendous panic and confusion among the workforce. Further, if an employee feels as though they were mistreated, they may react with anger and pose an immediate threat to other members of the company.

Hope for the Best but Plan for the Worst

COVID-19 has put incredible stress on not just businesses but also the workforces that support them. Between preventing the spread of the virus, childcare, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, laying off an employee having to overcome these extraordinary demands could be a potential recipe for disaster.

In-Person Terminations Are No Longer the Best Decision

It offers little purpose to request employees slated for termination to visit the office for an hour-long dismissal meeting. Respect for the employee is critical during an understandably difficult conversation; the news is best delivered via video conference call.

But even during a remote layoff, an HR manager can spot signs of behaviour that could indicate further complications in the future. Even if an employee is working remotely, they could still be a threat to other employees and managers.

During a remote termination, strive to gauge both what is being said and what isn’t being said while showing compassion as you work through the employee’s concerns.

Spot the Troublesome Signs During a Remote Termination

Job loss can be devastating for some, and there are many de-escalation techniques that can be utilized through a video conference. Show compassion and empathy to an employee, actively listen, and push to preserve the employee’s dignity as much as possible.

Sometimes, scripts can help deliver the news, but HR managers should avoid appearing impersonal or too direct with their delivery. A remote termination can make it even more difficult to spot concerning behaviour that could result in harm to the business or other employees.

Signs of distress can grow into more negative feelings of resentment, loss, or even a desire for physical retribution. Some employees may react by feeling victimized, show physical signs of despair, or act out with threats of violence to those delivering the news. After the conversation has concluded, managers should compare notes and decide whether taking extra measures to protect the well-being of their remote staff is required.

Partner with AFIMAC to Navigate the Challenges of Remote Terminations

Companies are encouraged to partner with AFIMAC to effectively handle the many challenges that can result from remote terminations. High-risk terminations are never pleasant and could potentially lead to violence, even in a remote workforce. AFIMAC is highly experienced in these types of terminations and has quickly adapted to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

AFIMAC offers solutions and services to protect both businesses and employers during these challenging times, including general security, protective drivers, and close protection services.

Contact us directly to learn more about available services.

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