There are three main ways an employee leaves an organisation.
The simplest is they voluntarily resign. While this may not be at a time or in circumstances that best suit the business, this process of termination is fairly straightforward. While there is certain paperwork that should be completed, the impact on the organisation is minimal, in comparison to the other ways of leaving an organisation.
If a staff member’s role within the organisation changes so substantially that the position they occupy no longer exists or a new position is needed with significantly different responsibilities, terms and conditions, the staff member’s original position is considered redundant.
While employers can change and renew their business, the law sets out strict expectations on how employers will deal with redundancies. While some staff members may resent the organisational changes, the law entitles employers to let staff go for reasons of (legitimate) redundancy.
The third form of termination from an organisation is dismissal for poor performance. Most managers will understand there are processes to be followed carefully when working through this type of termination. The process usually starts with a poor performance evaluation, leading to written warnings, and then follow-through on the termination warning.
If a staff member is surprised by a decision to terminate their employment, chances are the organisation has not followed good human resource practices, and overall, has not been fair and transparent with the staff member. Even if you do follow good human resource practice “to the letter of the law”, there is a chance the employee will not accept the decision and will bring a legal claim to try to reverse the decision, or more commonly, seek additional recompense as a consequence of the termination.