Sometimes, employee terminations cannot be avoided as the future growth of the business may rely heavily on weeding out problem employees. Employers should tread carefully in such situations however: employees should be fired gracefully, respectfully and by following appropriate procedure. Here is how to:
1. Do: Ensure that the decision to let an employee go is sound and premised on cause. Then, expedite the process to reduce the risk of adverse consequences on the company and the workforce.
2. Don't: Delegate the termination to a person who did not previously supervise the employee. Firstly, if a person unrelated to the employee terminates them, other employees will notice and secondly a person who had limited contact with a laid-off employee may not treat them with due tact.
3. Do: Establish clear corporate standards about expected and acceptable employee behaviour. These standards should be in written form and communicated to all employees. When standards are reportedly violated, there should be an investigation to validate the events and each action taken to remedy the situation should be documented before an employee is fired.
4. Don't: Let people go immediately. Terminations should be carried out with a clear head and after all the termination paperwork is prepared.
5. Do: Treat the employee with respect. Terminations should be carried out in person and privately. During the meeting, management should hand them a letter detailing the reasons behind the termination along with their final salary. Furthermore, no employee should be fired in the morning if they depend on car-pooling to get home.
6. Don't: Ever conduct employee terminations before weekends and holidays. During those times, counselling is scarce but might be necessary to a person who experiences that kind of distress.
7. Do: Ensure terminations are conducted in the presence of someone else. Due to the nature of lay-offs, you will have to safeguard your security as tension may escalate.
8. Don't: Permit the employee to turn the meeting into a quarrel. Although they should be treated with empathy and allowed to ask questions, they should not be allowed to doubt the fairness of the decision.
9. Do: Observe all corporate termination policies. Moreover, all company information the employee had access to needs to be secured and the company lawyer should be contacted immediately if there is even a hint of legal trouble.