Letting people go is never easy. And for most medical sales recruiters and talent acquisitions professionals, it’s not something they have to think about all that often. But how your company handles layoffs and terminations impacts your employer brand – and that can ultimately impact your ability to do your job and recruit medical sales professionals.

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Of course, the reason for the termination will obviously impact obviously impact the tone of the event. Letting someone go as part of a mass layoff feels significantly different from terminating someone for cause. But despite the reason for saying goodbye , it’s important for recruiters to be familiar with the typical circumstances in place when your company lets an employee go. Educate yourself by asking the following questions about how your company says goodbye to medical sales professionals:

Who is delivering the news?

Is it the employee in question’s direct supervisor or someone from HR? While the conversation will be difficult, the manager should lead it. They are the one with the most information about why the employee is being let go, and the employee deserves to know the truth about their termination.

In a February article for Harvard Business Review, Rebecca Knight interviewed Jodi Glickman, author and founder of communication consulting firm Great on the Job. Glickman advises managers to be short and to the point when letting an employee go, stating the reason for the termination in one simple sentence.

Dick Grote, a management consultant in Dallas, Texas, and author of How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals adds that managers should speak in the past-tense so to convey that what’s done is done and there will be no second chances. So, instead of saying, “You haven’t been meeting your sales targets,” say “You did not meet your sales targets for 6 months.” Gorte goes on to say that while there may be a need for someone from HR to be present for the conversation, the manager should lead it and they should absolutely stay for the duration. It is not up to HR to do the dirty work.  

Will the news come as a surprise?

With layoffs, the element of surprise is often inevitable, but when firing for cause, Knight writes the termination should be the final step in a fair and transparent process. This means that the employee was notified that they were not meeting expectations, and the path was made clear regarding what would happen if expectations continued to be unmet.

For medical sales professionals, expectations are fairly black and white. Arguments can always be made to justify why an individual did not meet sales quotas, but when the numbers aren’t being met (and this is clearly documented), the inevitable termination should not come as a surprise. However, don’t assume a medical sales professional knows what their underperformance means. Documentation is critical. Go over their numbers with them, and be clear and specific about how long they have to turn things around, so they are not taken by surprise when the clock runs out.

What is included in the exit package?

The details of severance pay and insurance coverage will vary, but every exit package should also include some level of outplacement services, or help for the departing employee in their transition to a new job. This may be education credits, a resume writing service, or hours with a career counselor. The best outplacement packages aren’t one size fits all. For example, departing medical sales representatives will find far more value in access to a medical sales job board than they will a generic employment website. Likewise, a resume review service and interview coaching that is specific to medical sales, will be far more helpful in their transition than generic career counseling. When possible customize the outplacement services offered to best meet the needs of that specific employee.   

Fortunately, recruiters and talent acquisition managers don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about letting employees go, but how your company handles terminations can significantly impact employer brand. So what is your company doing to ease the transition for outgoing employees?

Find out more about MedReps outplacement services for departing medical sales representatives.



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