It’s easy to get excited when there is a new employee joining your team but it becomes immensely tougher to withstand the termination of an employee. The situation can be quite uncomfortable for all parties involved and can be quite stressful too. No matter how the news is communicated or relayed about performance problems, or procrastination, or even failure to live up to standards, no employee ever considers them to get actually fired. Mostly, average employers do wait long enough before firing an employee and seldom is an instinctive decision.
Employees are mostly convinced that they won’t ever be fired: they think that you know how they are personally, or you recognize their efforts. In fact, as an employer, you may believe it too but performance is the key to retain employees in a company, and no other fact takes precedence.
Firing an employee could take longer than circumstances merit. But when you actually do so, you also need to be aware of modern award changes. These changes in rules impact the workplace scenarios especially when terminations occur, and employers need to be sure they are not breaking any rules while issuing termination letters to their employees, including proper remuneration.
Here are some of the dos’ and don’ts that employers need to consider to handle employee termination effectively:
- Do not Surprise Employees
If you have to terminate an employee, do it with respect and never surprise them. Have discussions about their performance calmly when it happens. Communicate the reason and answer their questions frankly. Do not insult them in any way. Thank them for all services rendered.
There should be a culture of clear policy enforcement with constant communication of performances leading to the final meeting. The employee needs to be aware of the zero-tolerance policy and hence should not be surprised by the termination. The meeting should be kept short and arguments can turn completely counterproductive. Stress on your point and the decision being final.
- Develop A Strong Disciplinary Policy and Company Culture
The HR should be in charge of finalizing a disciplinary policy and a culture that augurs well for all employees. The policies need to be aligned with the country’s labour and employment laws incorporating progressive discipline, acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, sexual harassment consequences and the like. Once employees are trained according to the company’s disciplinary process, they will be aware of the consequences of their actions including termination.
- Offer Separation Packages
Even though you are terminating the employee, employers are required to offer separation packages and adequate remuneration officially. It is advisable for employees to opt for a humane approach with a soft approach to the employee, thus allaying any future risk for the organization. Offering severance packages to employees (except when they are terminated for cause) is an act of dignity and respect that helps these employees to make their transition to a new job more palatable.
- Don’t Fire an Employee Unless You Are Meeting Face-to-Face
While firing an employee, you need to meet them face-to-face. Never fire an employee through emails, IMs, or phone calls or even a letter. Give them the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting when terminating them. It is important to remember that they are people with emotions, feelings, and sometimes long memories of the workplace. One should also remember, the social media world ensures that harsh dismissals do not remain private for long. Do not make them distrust you in any way or it could backfire.
- Don’t Terminate Employees Without Warning
A termination notice can make any employee disappointed, surprised and angry but nothing makes them angrier than feeling blind-sided by the act. The employee needs to be made aware of their dismal performance with consistent feedback over time. If you think they can improve, assist them in whatever way you can in order to support the employee. Document the improvement process with a systematic record of every step. Come what may, the actual termination should not come with no warning issued unless there is the cause or a punishable offence that demands immediate termination.