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How to Inform Staff of an Employee Termination via Email

In this blog post, we will look at email best practices when informing your staff of an employee termination, and then some hacks to ensure a soft landing. We will also share two emails templates that you can modify and use when appropriate.
Shiva Prabhakaran
Writer at Routine
Published on
March 9, 2024

Someone losing the job is a very tricky circumstance to try and explain to your staff. But it has to be done.

The task requires careful and considerate communication that not only makes professional sense but also is empathetic.

So in this blog post, we will look at email best practices when informing your staff of an employee termination, and then some hacks to ensure a soft landing. We will also share two emails templates that you can modify and use when appropriate. So let us get started.

Things to Remember

  • Understand that confidentiality is paramount in this case and anyone who should not be informed about the termination should be promptly excluded. Also, consider informing people on your email list to also ensure privacy of the terminated employee.
  • Time the announcement so that it doesn't disrupt the normal work day but do not spend a lot of time waiting for the right moment since it might give an opportunity for people to spread rumors which will ultimately harm the morale of the organisation.
  • Be empathetic & respectful when you talk about the terminated employee and keep your consistent with the company policies both from the messaging and tone standpoint. Having a consistent tone will keep the trust and transparency intact among your employees

Best Practices When Sharing News of a Termination

  • Keep a neutral subject line that doesn't make you sound like you're sad or excited about the termination. Something simple like "[Person] and [Company] have parted ways" would work and not disrupt the morale of the team.
  • Maintain a professional tone and avoid sounding insensitive or judgmental during a sensitive situation like a termination. This will ensure that your remaining team members feel like they too would be treated with respect and dignity if they were to be terminated from the company.
  • Provide a brief explanation on why the person was terminated and focus on the reasons that can be shared without breaching the terminated individuals privacy.
  • Open up an avenue for your employees to share their concerns with you about the termination. Ideally, it should be someone from the HR department who could be a point of contact for accumulating and managing concerns, but it could also be the team leaders of their respective teams.

Sample Emails Informing Staff of an Employee Termination

Sample 1 (When Reasons Can be Revealed)

Subject: Important Update: Employee Termination

Dear Team,

I hope you are all well. Regrettably, there has been an important development to our larger and we had to make the difficult decision to terminate employment of our colleague, [Employee Name], effective immediately.

We did not arrive at this decision lightly, and we carefully considered the employee's performance and its overall impact on our business center before arriving at this conclusion.

Some of you might have questions regarding this update, so if you require any information, please do not hesitate to contact our HR Head [HR Head's Name] at [Email ID] or you can also take this up with your supervisor.

We are committed to providing our employees with a great workplace and we appreciate your cooperation and empathy during this difficult time.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Sample 2 (When Reasons Can't be Revealed)

Subject: [Person] and [Company] Have Parted Ways

Dear Team,

In the last 24 hours, there has been a development in our leadership team and we have made a choice to terminate employment of one of our directors.

The decision was taken after careful consideration and was in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders.

If you have further questions, please reach out to our HR department.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

Conclusion

There are few things harder in the modern workplace than informing the staff about an employee termination. But by adhering to high confidentiality and promptness standard, it is possible to make this situation a bit more palatable.

The goal is to ensure that your remaining employees feel safe and trust your leadership while at the same time, the terminated employee doesn't feel like their dignity was attacked. So maintaining a neutral tone, paying attention to privacy and having a matter of fact communication style can help you salvage employee morale during this difficult time.

Thanks for reading.

About the author
Shiva Prabhakaran

Shiva is a subject matter expert in communication, marketing, productivity, and learning systems. He has previously contributed to many blogs and newsletters, including Validated, Mental Models, HackerNoon, and several brands. You can find Shiva on LinkedIn or email him at shiva(at)routine.co.

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