School Business Affairs June 2020

40 JUNE 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS Best practices to consider when terminating an employee remotely. Offboarding Remote Employees By Nan Wodarz, Ed.D. management briefcase D uring the past three months, the basics of how we work has changed beyond anything we could have imagined. With most employees working remotely, supervisors are dealing with new challenges in personnel management and leadership. Unfortunately, in these unsettling eco- nomic times, many districts will need to layoff staff members for budgetary reasons and underperforming employees will con- tinue to fail to meet expectations and need to be let go. Terminating an employee can be difficult in the best of circumstances—how can it be done effectively without a face-to- face meeting? Digital offboarding is a means of com- municating with employees electronically or digitally about terminating their employ- ment status. School leaders can learn from our business counterparts about important considerations and the best practices they have established to offboard employees. Considerations and Best Practices Many of the best practices related to employee termination apply in a digital environment. The most significant differ- ence is that we must consider carefully those things that would be done in a physical set- ting and transform them to suit a remote environment. Preparation and careful execu- tion are key. What follows are a few tips to help leaders plan and execute a remote termination meeting. Choosing the Means The least desirable option is to use email to deliver news of an employment separa- tion. Unlike videoconferencing or phone, email does not allow for a real-time, two-way conversation; it is impersonal, leaves an employee feeling disrespected or insignificant, and could provoke a negative emotional reaction. Email termination presents other risks as well. The recipient may not receive the notice in a timely manner or may acciden- tally delete the email. The employer may send the information to a wrong email address or forget to include information or attachments. Thus, employers should use email as a last resort when communicating a change in employment status. Videoconferencing or phone termina- tions allow the employer to convey critical information and empathy, while giving the employee an opportunity to ask questions and share his or her thoughts. Videoconfer- encing allows all parties to see nonverbal gestures, which is important when dis- cussing such emotional topics as employ- ment status. Before the Meeting Determine the scope . Some districts may have to lay off several employees. If this is the case, handle each situation individually. Schedule timing thoughtfully . There is a good deal of research about when to ter- minate employees and all of it is contradic- tory. Think carefully about the employee’s circumstances at home. If you contact the employee during the day, might children wit- ness their parent becoming upset? Choose a date and time that is most compassionate for the employee. Prepare the technology . Ensure that the technology works—both yours and the employee’s. The last thing that you want is for the technology or the connection to fail in the middle of the conversation. Prepare the IT department . If you plan to terminate remote access, carefully plan ???????/STOCK.ADOBE.COM