Posts Tagged ‘firing’

6 Things Not to Do When Terminating an Employee

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Terminating an employee is a stressful process for all parties. Even though you have repeatedly shared your performance concerns with the employee, they generally don’t believe that they will actually get fired.

You can make the experience easier to digest by using an effective, supportive approach.

Here are the top don’ts when you do decide to terminate an employee.

1. Don’t Terminate an Employee Unless You Are Meeting Face-to-Face 

If at all possible, do not terminate an employee using any electronic method (i.e. emails, voice mails, or phone calls). Even a notification letter is inappropriate. When you terminate an employee give them the courtesy you would extend to any human being.  Some organizations will follow-up with a written notification but this should not be the first time the employee is learning of their discharge,

Employees deserve a face-to-face meeting. Nothing else works. The discharged employee will remember and your other employees have even longer memories.

2. Don’t Terminate an Employee without Warning (for anything not deemed gross misconduct)

Nothing makes an employee angrier than feeling blind-sided when discharged. Unless an immediate, egregious act occurs, the employee should experience some combination of coaching, performance feedback, and or progressive discipline as required.  Before you discharge an employee, try to determine what is causing the employee to fail.

If you decide the employee is able to improve her performance, provide whatever assistance is needed to encourage and support the employee.  Often time your EAP is the appropriate intervention. Document each step.

If you are confident the employee can improve, and the employee’s role allows, a performance improvement plan (PIP) may show the employee specific, measurable improvement requirements.

3. Don’t Terminate an Employee without a Witness 

The best practice is to include a second employee in the termination meeting when you fire an employee. Typically the HR Business Partner and the employee’s immediate supervisor are the two members of management involved in this meeting. HRBP’s can also help keep the discussion on track and moving to completion.

The HRBP can also help pick up the slack if the terminating manager runs out of words or is unsure what to say or do next.

4. Don’t Supply Lengthy Rationale and Examples for Why You Are Terminating the Employee

This is a notification meeting only.  If you have coached and documented an employee’s performance issues over time and provided frequent feedback, there is no point in rehashing your dissatisfaction when you fire the employee. It accomplishes nothing.
Instead, sum up the high points and have ‘talking points’ prepared that correctly summarize the situation without unnecessary detail or placing blame. You want the employee to maintain his/her dignity during an employment termination process. So, you might say:

“We’ve already discussed your performance issues. We are terminating your employment because your performance does not meet the standards we expect from this position. We wish you well and trust you will locate a position that is a better fit for you.”

5. Don’t Let the Employee Believe That the Decision Is Not Final

Because employees don’t believe that you will actually fire them in the first place, they may believe that there is an
opportunity to affect your decision. Approach the employee with kindness, concern, and respect, but your words should be straightforward.

Being ‘wishy-washy’ only complicates the issue for all parties, especially if the employee believes he/she has one
last chance to affect your decision. In fact, tell the employee that the purpose of the meeting is to inform them of your decision, which is final. This is kinder than misleading the employee.

6. Don’t Terminate an Employee without a Checklist in Hand

An employment termination checklist can keep you organized and on track when you need to terminate an employee. The employment termination checklist ensures that you cover all appropriate topics during what can be a stressful meeting for all participants.

In addition, the employment termination checklist also provides guidance about informing the employee of what they can expect from your company upon termination of employment and any related supporting processes. If your company needs help with workforce planning and HR strategy contact us today.

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

Free eBook Gives Organizations Advice on Employee Relations from Hiring to Firing

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

ebook_1_2013Employees are a critical factor in determining whether your organization and its various departments will meet your business goals. Who you recruit to join the organization is just as important as who you decide to let go from the organization.

Finding the right employees for your new positions and managing your current employees well will help you build a company that can survive difficult economic environments and confront new business challenges head on.

CAI is providing employers a free eBook aimed at helping them make informed decisions on the hiring and firing practices at their organizations. The eBook Hiring and Firing: Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between is a resource of several articles that include tips and information for job seekers and employers on finding a match that will enable both groups to flourish.

The following are some of the chapters included in this eBook:

•Social Media for Job Hunters

•Turn a Poor Interview to Your Advantage

•A Good Termination

•The Single Question Interview

•You Owe It to Each Other

If you are a CAI member, you can download the free eBook directly here:

If you’d like to download the eBook but you are not a CAI member, please visit here and submit your request:

CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team is another resource for receiving guidance around good employer practices for recruiting employees and also letting employees go. Contact a team member at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

The Effective Use of Last Chance Agreements

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

You have an employee who has been productive for your company in the past but has shown signs lately of not being at his or her best. More frequent absenteeism and/or tardiness as well as erratic behavior with staff and customers all have become part of your worker’s traits, and you fear he or she may have a problem with drugs or alcohol. You want to keep that employee rather than terminate him or her, given the accomplishments, but addressing that situation may not be as easy as you hope.

Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), you cannot discriminate against any employee you believe is disabled, and that includes one you think has a substance abuse problem. In most circumstances, it is unlawful to require an employee to undergo medical testing or treatment. That includes forcing them to enter rehabilitation or monitoring their stay if they enter rehab voluntarily. The situation appears hopeless.

There is a legal solution that many businesses employ for this situation – in fact, it is effective even if the employee’s poor performance is not due (or found not due) to substance abuse, if that is the case. It’s called a Last Chance Agreement.

By having an employee sign a Last Chance Agreement, your worker agrees to the following:

  • To enter a rehabilitation program
  • To allow the company to monitor his or her rehab plan for success
  • To return to work after successfully completing the rehab program and follow the requirements set by his or her rehab counselor or the company’s substance abuse policy
  • To understand that any future misconduct (e.g., a positive drug test) will result in immediate termination

For employees without a substance problem, the Last Chance Agreement can be used to make them understand they need to improve their job performance and/or behavior, and that failure to do so can result in termination. Whatever the case, this agreement will either spur a better work ethic by the employee, or will serve as documentation to the Employment Security Commission that the employee had full knowledge of the consequences of his or her failure to improve and that termination could result from that failure.

For additional information on Last Chance Agreements please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: matsuyuki

Welcome to Workplace Insights

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Welcome to the first installment of Workplace Insights!  

The blogs posted here will come from me and other leaders at CAI.  We’ll cover specific concerns regarding HR, management, hiring and firing, engagement, retention, labor issues, training, payroll and more – all the issues that have a real impact on your day-to-day work, with a focus on North Carolina.  We hope Workplace Insights will be a key resource in making your organization a great place to work in this state.

For nearly 50 years, CAI has assisted executives and managers in more than 1,000 member companies in the greater Research Triangle, Piedmont Triad and 65 central and eastern counties of North Carolina, from answering phone and e-mail inquiries to hosting informative conferences.  Workplace Insights offers us another platform to help you and your people reach your goals.

We will update this blog frequently with our own stories.  To keep up with the latest information and stay involved, we invite you to subscribe to our RSS feed so that we can notify you when new items appear.

Thank you for visiting our blog.  We would love to hear your comments and suggestions.  This is a two-way conversation we want to have with you, so let us know what you think.