What is employee termination? Is the termination of employment the only option that cannot be prevented? Are there any other alternatives to firing an employee? What are discipline actions that can be taken instead of termination? Read the article to find out more about alternatives to firing.

What is employee termination? – table of content:

  1. What is employee termination?
  2. How to prevent the termination of the employee?
  3. Summary

What is employee termination?

Employee termination process is the procedure that deals with situations when the employer feel that the employee has to go and cannot perform his duties any longer. The reasons for employee termination are either economical or work related. Among the many work related reasons for employee termination are: violence, criminal behavior, discrimination, harassment, absenteeism, insubordination and low productivity.

The employer has to remember about the legal restraints that prevent firing employees for the reasons not related to work itself. Currently it is illegal to terminate the employment because of the employee’s: age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, gender or sexual identity.

The termination is effective if it is done in writing and all the important documents have to signed be the employee before leaving. It is not beneficial for the company to wait with the termination of the employee, who is neglectful, aggressive or involved in criminal activities, but how to act if the behavior of the employee seems to be nonrecurring or corrigible. Are there any other possibilities for the manager, who wishes to give his employee another chance?

what is employee termination

How to prevent the termination of the employee?

There are strategies that are probably more effective than firing an employee. From the perspective of the manager letting somebody go is one of the most stressful and difficult decisions to be made. Managers tend to postpone the decision about dismissal even knowing that it will have to be made sooner or later.

What if your employee seem to be unaware of his misconduct or lack of engagement. Should you let him know ahead? Should you give him a second chance? What else could you do to avoid termination of under-performing employees?

To keep them:

  • Try to resolve the problem informally. If the problem related to your employee is not serious it is advisable to try lighter approach. Informal conversation during one-to-one meeting may be the best resolution, especially if the employee is known for his previous loyalty and good performance. In most of the cases of under-performance such delicate measure is adequate and sufficient.
  • Set performance targets. Setting performance targets is one of the most common and effective techniques used by managers to let the employee know about that the expectations of the company. Give your employees clear goals, describe desirable outcome and set the deadline. The information about employee’s shortcomings and company’s expectations should be delivered at this stage as well. Before the introduction of the plan it is advisable to hold a meeting, where the employee should be informed that if there is no improvement after a premeditated period of time his dismissal may be taken under consideration.
  • Check the work environment. Sometimes poor performance is caused by some work factors unknown at the moment of hiring. It is advisable to talk to the employees in relation to their work involvement to discover if there are any of difficulties or obstructions.
  • Offer additional training. Poor performance may be related to the lack of knowledge. Knowing how expensive the search, hiring, onboarding of the new employee is, the manager should reflect on training possibilities. Is there anything that could be done to improve the skill of the employee?

To let them go:

  • Provide additional incentives.Encourage your employee to leave by himself. There is no better way to persuade than offering additional perks and bonuses. Some companies offer financial rewards, letters of recommendations, health insurances and counseling service to help their employees to go. Is it always better to reach mutual understanding than fight unproductive battles or hold needless grudges.
  • Change the structure of the organization. To let the person go without having explaining the reason the restructuring of the organization if frequently considered. This solution to the problem is elegant and risk free since the dismissal can be done through removing a position from the structure or merging two similar roles into one position. The result allows the manager to dismiss the employee without remorse and lengthy discussions. The employee may start to look elsewhere without being offended, humiliated or hurt. The danger of the approach lays in the fact that the employee still can start legal actions if finds out that somebody else has been offered similar position soon after the dismissal. To avoid problems usually the names of the positions are being changed and some real restructuring has to be done, at least in documents.
what is employee termination


In the article we tried to explain what is employee termination and what are the ways to prevent it. There are situations that termination cannot be prevented and the employee has to fired immediately. The instances of: gross misconduct, sexual harassment, theft, discrimination or criminal activity cannot be accepted. Poor performance may be caused by unexpected reasons therefore it is good to consider other disciplinary actions. When corrective measures fail there are alternatives to firing that allow the employee to leave voluntarily and therefore protect the company from law suits and other unpleasant repercussions.

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.