There will come a time when a manager needs to make the tough decision to terminate an employee. These types of decisions are never easy, but necessary. However, they can be accomplished in a planful, formal and logical fashion to maximize your control over the discussion. The decision to terminate an employee should normally be made in consultation with your boss and Human Resources. Of course, in a unionized setting, the labor contract and past practice need to be taken into account before the decision is finalize.
If you are faced with this situation, here are just a few key points you’ll want to keep in mind:
1. Hold the meeting early Monday morning. Research has shown that this is the best day of the week to get this done. This will provide the employee with the rest of the work-week to psychologically adjust and actively begin to prepare for the change. “Black Friday” terminations have been well-documented to have a negative impact on the person and the organization.
2. When you bring the person into your office to inform them of the news, don’t fill time with small talk. Don’t make jokes. It will later feel inauthentic to both you and the person, so avoid it. You want to be direct, specific and supportive by getting down to business immediately.
3. Tell the person directly, candidly and factually that he/she is being terminated and the reasons why. Resist the urge to debate the decision. Indicate to the person, the decision is final and has been supported by senior management.
4. Review termination procedures:
- Last effective work day.
- Disposition of work in process.
- Removal of personal effects, expense books, etc.
5. Offer to help the employee think about his/her next steps in searching for a new job.
- Allow the person to participate in decisions about how the news will be communicated elsewhere in the organization.
- Give the person the opportunity to discuss what will be said about him/her to prospective employers who call for references.
- Review options where the employee’s talents and abilities can best be applied.
Terminating employee is the most toughest decision any manager can make. You will always want to consult with Human Resources and carefully plan how to effectively discuss this with the employee in accordance with the HR practices in your organization. However, with preparation, sensitivity and by following a few key points you can effectively manage through this very difficult process.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Alan Collins is Vice President – Human Resources for Pepsi. He leads HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana business. For more articles on people retention, career advancement and the successful management of human resources, please go to our website at http://www.SuccessInHR.com