On the Topic of Severance

Read more by Richard White

Richard White is a Co-founder and the CEO of UserVoice, where he focuses on making sexy products for un-sexy markets like customer service. The common thread throughout all these ventures is Richard’s passion for building wonderfully simple productivity tools with delightful user experiences. He’s proud to say that his works give people more time to waste rather than waste more of their time.

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The following is a guest post from fnBlog Contributor Richard White, Founder and CEO of UserVoice. This post, originally posted on Richard White’s blog White Lies- A collection of blog post focused on seeking out the complex truths behind the simple lies of the (startup) world.

On Severance

I recently observed a heated startup mailing list discussion about whether a to give severance to an employee of a early stage (but funded) startup. Most of the discussion focused on what was legally required and whether or not to couple severance with a separation agreement. This was my response:

I hate severance. Hate it. The thought of paying someone I was forced to fire because he (or she) is incompetent burns me up inside.

However. I always provide severance and I always require a departing employee sign separation agreements. For everyone from an executive to the janitor.

Why? Because it’s a small town and current and future employees will notice how you take care (or don’t take care) of people on their way out.

Other employees won’t always know why a former employee was fired, but they will know that you fired them with little notice* and no severance. It just looks bad and makes people worry about working for you.

Cash isn’t king. Your reputation is.

But then again. I’ve been told I’m a bit old school.

  • I know it’s “little notice” because you’re a startup and thus you would be foolish to spend time on lots of remediation. Hire slow. Fire fast.

Want to learn more about @UserVoice?  Check out Richard’s Blog or connect with him on Twitter @rrwhite

Read more by Richard White

Richard White is a Co-founder and the CEO of UserVoice, where he focuses on making sexy products for un-sexy markets like customer service. The common thread throughout all these ventures is Richard’s passion for building wonderfully simple productivity tools with delightful user experiences. He’s proud to say that his works give people more time to waste rather than waste more of their time.

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