All good things, and possibly some bad things, must come to an end. One of the most difficult aspects of being an employer is to face the end of an employee relationship, whether terminating an employee or dealing with a resignation.
There are certain ways to handle the end of a relationship, which should be provided in the household’s employee handbook and the work agreement, and should be consistent with relevant laws. The best strategy that any employer can use when terminating an employee, accepting an employee’s resignation, or saying goodbye to your nanny is to address the situation as soon as possible and to be honest.
Always end an employee relationship professionally. Deal with it head-on and without delay. Often, an employer’s first instinct to terminate an employee should be acted upon, since it is seldom that the employer’s perspective or situation changes.
When the relationship ends on good terms, some households make an employee’s goodbye an event, involving the entire family in a dinner celebration or a night of reminiscing. Some employers provide the employee with an album with stories and photos, while others may provide a more businesslike gift, such as a watch or a plaque.
One of the most potentially difficult situations to deal with when a nanny leaves is how it impacts the children. Whether the nanny is leaving on good terms or was terminated for unfortunate reasons, the children she cared for during her employment will certainly have questions about why she’s no longer with them, and in the case of younger kids, they may have developed a real attachment that can be difficult to reconcile. The household employer should be involved in communicating an employee’s departure plans with the family. Household employers may ask the nanny to explain to children why they are leaving the home, what his or her plans are, and how the change may affect the family. Sometimes hearing the news from the nanny may allow the children to understand the situation better.
Employers should reinforce to their children that they are not at fault for the nanny’s departure. Depending on their age, you can be honest about why the nanny is leaving, whether for good or bad reasons. But it’s important to stress that it was nothing the children did to make the nanny leave. Explain to them that some goodbyes are natural, and just because the nanny is leaving, the family need not lose all contact with her. It is merely a change in the relationship; perhaps something that goes from full-time contact as an employee to visits as a guest or a friend, or even an occasional babysitter.
Recognize that there can be a positive ending when one employee leaves, and take the necessary time to prepare the family for a new hire.
For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.