Contributed by Julie Proscia
Once you have made the decision to terminate your troublesome employee (insert any of the following adjectives: poor performer, incessant gossiper, internet abuser and/or consummate slacker), how do you do it?
An improperly planned and executed termination can be a minefield that can present even more problems then the individual’s employment. The following tips can help you avert the most common mines in the field:
1.) Team work – If at all possible conduct the termination with another person. Why? So you can have a witness to verify what was said and not said.
2.) Follow the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared – Before you even walk into the room develop a check list that includes: COBRA paperwork, timing and transmission of final wages/vacation, severance agreements (if applicable) the collection of company property, changing of passwords, the notification of the local police department and most importantly the removal of tissue boxes.
3.) Script – Be organized, have a plan, know what you are going to say and say it. Do. Not. Deviate.
4.) Keep it Brief – A termination should last no longer then seven minutes. Any longer and we are crossing into the danger zone. As human beings we feel the need to fill silence, apologize and explain. Avoid the urge.
5.) Repeat Number 3. – Stick to the Script. EVEN and especially if the employee argues and/or cries. Once you have made the decision to terminate, the decision is final. This is not the time to reassess or debate.
6.) Collection Time – Obtain all company property at the time of termination, trying to get property after the fact is substantially more difficult.
The balance between trying to be humane and trying to mitigate conversation to avoid litigation is a delicate one that can be walked with proper planning. Think of a termination like a band aid. Rip if off quick and it only stings for a minute.