How Training Affects the Employee Lifecycle: Part 7—Separation

Training is essential at all stages of the employee lifecycle—before you even hire someone to when they leave the company.

The employee lifecycle is a human resources model that defines the stages of an employee’s career with the company to help guide and manage the process.

It involves the following stages:

In this seven-part blog series, we’ll discuss why and how to implement a good training program to support each stage of the employee lifecycle.


Let’s face it; separation—the final stage of the employee lifecycle—is probably the most difficult and emotionally charged. A purposeful training program can make the process much smoother and productive for all involved.

In cases where the termination has been planned in advance due to events such as retirement or changes in business direction that results in layoffs or needs for different skills, mentoring and job shadowing training programs that provide for knowledge transfer allows for business continuity.

Training programs that prepare employees to make transition changes, including financial/retirement planning, job search skills and outplacement training, are positive employee relations tools that show the organization cares about its departing employees (a good sign for the employees who remain).

In cases of involuntary terminations relating to problem performance or behavior, training that prepares managers to set goals and monitor results, recognize early warning signs of problem performance, and handle tough performance conversations successfully can make the difference between an employment termination where both parties feel the process was handled fairly and a potential wrongful termination lawsuit.

Training can help take the surprises out of terminations.

Good management training should address setting expectations, coaching and creating plans to support employees who are not delivering on expectations. This kind of training can help managers not only see and address work issues before they become major problems, but also make better decisions about when a termination needs to take place. Employee training relating to setting goals and communicating challenges helps employees understand their obligations to manage their performance and what happens when expectations are not met.

Training can help managers handle the termination process.

Managers and supervisors can take specialized communication training to learn how to deliver the news in the best way possible and make sure they are following all the right human resources practices and complying with the relevant regulations and laws.

For instance, one best practice is to document all performance and improvement plans. Training can help managers develop plans and prepare good documentation.

Learn more about easing the pain of employee termination.

Training can help mitigate any termination risks.

What could go wrong? A lot. Ensure that training covers all regulations and rules around terminations, so employers can avoid the risks associated with a wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment or retaliation lawsuit. Well-trained supervisors handling performance issues with respect and consideration throughout the process creates a more positive employee relations climate that supports the company culture.

Training can help employees prepare to leave the organization.

When the termination isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in the cases of a planned retirement, lifestyle change, unplanned exit—like a medical condition—or partner transfer to another city, training can help guide an employee through the process and properly prepare for next steps.

Training can help managers and employees deal with an employee leaving.

Regardless of the reason for the departure, training can help employees and managers cope with the loss of co-workers and outline next steps for moving forward to get the work done. A training program that involves cross-training, job shadowing and mentoring can also ease the transition.

Well, that’s it! Our training and employee lifecycle blog series is complete. Thanks for hanging out with us! And remember—if you’re a ThinkHR registered user, your insurance broker gives you access to hundreds of HR and compliance training courses here.