The Headhunters hosted a webinar with guest speaker Dr. Howie Outerbridge of Logan HR about how to terminate employees. Howie shared some excellent insight and useful tips on this topic, focusing on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of conducting termination meetings. He draws on over 15 years of experience in learning, career exploration and the development of people, and has helped plan and conduct hundreds of termination meetings.


We learned a lot from the expertise Howie shared on this webinar. Here are some of the key take-aways:

  • When dealing with terminations, it’s of course important to keep the organization’s interests and future success in mind, but it’s also very important to ensure the terminated employee leaves with dignity and respect
  • Terminations can be with cause or without cause:
    • Without cause is the most common type of termination (and the focus of this webinar) and is legal in Canada as long as the employee is compensated appropriately. Reasons for without cause terminations can include downsizing, shortage of work, lack of ‘fit,’ etc.
    • With cause is less common (not the focus of this webinar) and reasons are typically related to performance issues, illegal activities, gross negligence, etc. Howie strongly advises seeking legal counsel in these cases.
  • Termination meetings are emotional for everyone involved. They are difficult, but necessary.
  • Remaining employees can suffer from ‘survivor syndrome,’ and the effects of a termination can linger in the organization after someone is let go. Transparency and communication can help get the team back on track more quickly.
  • Howie typically recommends terminations take place mid-week and earlier in the day. He advises against letting an employee go at the end of the work week because: 1) they may not have access to their full support network over the weekend, and 2) there’s a higher risk of a social media ‘frenzy’ over the weekend. Having the termination earlier in the day allows you sufficient time with the departing employee and time to communicate to remaining staff after they’re gone.
  • Decide who will deliver the messages and script out what they will say. It’s important to select the right person—often the person’s manager—to deliver the initial message, and then turn the conversation over to a human resources representative or a career transition consultant.
  • Watch the webinar to hear Howie discuss:
    • Important objectives for the employer, the departing employee and the remaining employees
    • Planning, logistics and security considerations
    • Sample scripts and scenarios
    • 6 common employee reactions and how to deal with each
    • When and why an outside career transition consultant can be an helpful resource.

“Most companies do a good job of treating people well when they’re hired. The truly excellent companies also do a great job when it’s time to part ways.” – Dr. Howie Outerbridge