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Are you been “Counselled Out” of Your Job?


Employment Termination strategies are being updated by companies.

The employer/ employee relationship is very complex. And no doubt this complexity dramatically increases when the employer seeks to terminate the employee’s employment with the company.

But do you know that there are now several strategies which employers can use to end the employment. The buzz word used in the US is called “Counselling Out” and other countries call it “Managing Out” an employee.

This strategy is designed to convince an employee, after a company has determined that employee has no future with the company, that it would be in the employee’s best interests to leave the company and that the company is willing to make a settlement with that employee.

The strategy often combines a “Carrot & Stick” approach which is designed to be avoid claims for unfair dismissal.

The methods used in “Counselling out” include:

“Role Redundancy”

This is the traditional approach to employment termination. An employee is informed that their role is no longer required within the company and the process begins to terminate the employment.

The issue for employers is that, for a period of time, they are not allowed to place anyone else into that specific titled role.

“Off the Record Conversation”

The purpose of this is to allow employers to hold informal conversations with employees that may lead to them leaving the company and not risk of the employee pursuing a claim for unfair dismissal against the employer.

The approach informs the employee that the company is deciding that their employment may come to an end yet it does not inform that it will end.

At the time of writing this approach is not legal in all countries, but it is slowly becoming enacted in many countries employment laws.

“Performance improvement Plans”

This method is to keep setting objectives, targets and deadlines for employees which are very difficult to achieve. This the makes the position untenable for the employee.

The approach is for a meeting to be arranged between the employee, their manager and the HR department. During this meeting the employee is informed that they are underperforming in their role. As a result of this a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is be drawn up to address the issue.

The PIP sets down very difficult or unachievable tasks or targets for the employee. When the employee is unable to complete the task or doesn’t meet the targets then it can be written into the employees employment file that they are not hitting their targets, and make it look like they are not doing their job.

This puts sever pressure on the employee and they may look to leave the company or  seek legal recourse over this approach which then allows the employer to offer financial settlements for the employee to leave.

“The Unwanted”

This is a set of deliberate actions which is designed to demonstrate to an employee that they are no longer valued or wanted at the company. It also is intended to undermine that employee and their position in the eyes of their fellow work colleagues.

Examples include moving an employee into a room to work on their own, assigning the employees work & duties to another staff member or not inviting the employee to any work social events.

This method is designed to make the employee so demoralised and unhappy at work that they want to leave.

“The Wanted”

This method can be the most compassionate yet most underhanded approach.

The process involves an employer contacting their recruitment agency. The employer asks the recruitment agency to make contact with the employee so as to “headhunt” them for a role with a different company. This often flatters the employee and opens them into looking to move away from the company.



There are now many methods in which can be used by employers to send signals to employees that they are seen as having no long term future in a company. An employee who is able to read the signals is often able to take control of the process and then turn a negative situation into a positive situation.

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