Guide To Employee Termination in APAC

employee termination in apac guide
Table of Contents

Terminating an employee can be a sensitive and challenging charge that human resource management is tasked with - and for many high-growth companies in Asia Pacific, the process can leave a significant impact on various stakeholders such as employees, clients or investors and the company’s overall reputation. As there are many factors involved in the process, employee termination needs to be managed empathetically so as to cater to a smooth transition for the outgoing employee while maintaining stability within the company’s operations. 

According to Mercer’s COVID-19 pulse survey in 2021, most employers in Southeast Asia were observing a higher turnover rate compared to previous years1. Gartner’s research in the same year indicated that on average, one in five employees is actively looking for a new job2.

With such alarming figures in the recent statistics, it becomes clear that employee termination is a trend today, and implementing effective termination practices is paramount to ensure a smooth and respectful transition - one that could safeguard your organization’s interests at the same time.

Managing an effective and empathetic employee termination

So how does a company manage employee termination compliantly while ensuring that the employee’s wellbeing is taken care of at the same time?

We’re glad you asked.

There are essentially two types of employee terminations: voluntary termination of employment and involuntary termination of employment. The differences between these two terminations are described in the table below:

Employee termination processes can potentially disrupt an organization’s operations; involuntary termination, in particular, should be handled sensitively and compliantly with the local laws to avoid potential legal disputes. An employee who is terminated may have distressing sentiments such as feeling unfairly dismissed or worried about their next employment after being terminated - which is why it is important for organizations to be empathetic yet professional when managing these delicate processes.

Here’s a brief termination guide on how to manage an effective employee termination process empathetically without sacrificing organizational performance or overall reputation:

Communicate termination with compassion and empathy

When speaking to an employee that is to be let go of, use empathetic language to convey the termination decision. Choose a suitable setting, employ respectful words and provide clear reasons for the termination so as to avoid misunderstandings. Listen to the employee’s reactions and consider cultural sensitivities before offering support to the employee.

Provide support services and outplacement assistance

Grant fair severance packages to acknowledge employee’s contributions and to help with the outgoing transition process. Allow outplacement services that offer professional guidance or that could enhance job search prospects for the employee. You can also offer emotional support such as counseling services, or connect the employee to networks that could facilitate new job opportunities for him or her.

Employ employee retention strategies during organizational changes

During the transition process, retaining employees becomes a crucial factor. Promote transparent communication about changes within your organization to foster understanding, and offer skill development and internal mobility that shows investment in your employees’ growth. Encouraging a positive work environment also helps, as it promotes loyalty and engagement initiatives that boosts morale - reflecting the company’s values of its workforce wellbeing.

Navigate termination challenges with AYP HR solutions

Through implementation of actionable steps, HR leaders can manage employee terminations comprehensively within a well-structured process. It may be an even better option to seek external perspective, whereby the involvement of third-party HR experts can lend invaluable insights to help you navigate the intricate terrains of termination processes.

AYP Group is your trusted partner of HR expertise; we are the pioneering Asia Pacific EOR (Employer of Record) and PEO (Professional Employer Organization) provider with over a decade of experience. With our award winning HR services and sound HR solutions, we can help your organization to navigate termination challenges through:

  • Ongoing HR support and compliance with our extensive network of over 100 local experts across the Asia Pacific region
  • Simplified legal structure that alleviates the need for time-consuming registrations and administrative burdens

Let us help you steer the course towards better employee offboarding processes minus the hassle or stress - so that your organization’s growth is optimized and geared towards a brighter future ahead.

Discover more insights with our FREE ebook on APAC employee termination and offloading here.


  1. Dissatisfaction With Pay and Benefits, Limited Career Advancement Are Key Drivers of Employee Turnover in ASEAN, Says Mercer’s Latest Survey ↩︎
  2. Worried About Employee Turnover? Ask These 6 Questions to Size Your Risk ↩︎
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