Terminated Employees Can Become Brand Ambassadors

Suzanne Kludt




We’re talking firing vs. hiring today. Steps can be taken to ensure that, at least case, a soon-to-be former employee doesn’t “bad mouth” the company, or our great industry! Our goal is to keep your company culture bright and shiny, in turn, helping you to continue to build your future candidate pipeline.


Employees, especially those that leave a company, can post their thoughts just about anywhere.  Yelp, Indeed, and Glassdoor are just a few platforms for employees to share opinions. With the continued growth of social media, employees who have left the company, either voluntarily, or involuntarily, are alumni and brand ambassadors, either good or bad. There is no in-between.


Future employees are consistently relying on reviews of current and past employees in order to determine whether they choose to engage with a company; in turn, affecting your candidate pipeline. Over 75% of potential candidates research reviews before deciding to apply for a new role.


Step 1: Communication. If an employee is underperforming, let them know! Immediately inform the employee of WHY they are not meeting expectations, set goals, and give them the tools to perform to your standards. Continue to check in with them and be transparent. Rule of thumb; if you terminate an employee for underperformance and they are SHOCKED at the time of termination, you haven’t done your job as a manager. If the employee feels like they were warned and/or put on notice of their underperformance, they are less likely to leave disgruntled.


Step 2: Show Respect. If you must let someone go, do so privately and with dignity. The end of the day is generally best, the employee can pack their things quietly and leave with their head held high. If this isn’t possible, let them know you can pack their things and have them pick them up after hours to quietly get their belongings.


Step 3: Provide Information. Remember, you’re rocking someone’s world by letting them go; even if they’re prepared. We recommend having a packet available with information regarding COBRA, 401(k) accounts, even a handout or two that offers advice on coping with job loss. Be open to questions, offer an email address for them to reach out to as they think of things or have questions a few days after the termination.


Step 4: Before an employee departs, thank them for their service and shake their hand. Remember, they are going to most likely reach out to co-workers that are still with you; AND talk to potential candidates that are considering joining the company. If they feel that, even in the worst of circumstances, you’re being sincere and appreciative; they will tell others. It’s your job to do everything possible to minimize any morale damage and keep your company culture strong.  BE HUMAN.



There are many success stories! In talking with one of our client companies this week, a terminated employee was let go with such grace that he actually recommended a colleague to replace himself. It can be done! Let’s keep this conversation going!




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