Employee terminations help out the good employees

by on May 26, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Negative behavior issues can be remedied permanently with employee terminations

We send a message to the good people that we care with employee terminations. When good employees start to leave and they say it’s because of bad employees, you know that negative behavior issues have gone too far. Sometimes it ends up being a scale. If you’ve got a skill set that isn’t easy to get, it can be hard to find and keep good people. So you weigh an employee’s performance against their behavior. Ask yourself if the performance outweighs the behavioral stuff.

And for a long time you may conclude that yes, the performance is worth dealing with some negative behavior. But if you keep up with that, it may level off but it won’t get any better, because then the employee knows they got you. And eventually, the good people start to realize that if their supervisor is going to put up with that employee’s negative behavior, they don’t have to stick around.

Once you decide that the negative behavior isn’t worth the performance, that’s when you start to salvage. Confront the employee about their negative behavior. Don’t go to HR claiming that they have an attitude problem. If you can’t describe the reason behind the employee terminations to HR, then you can’t describe it to the employee and hold him accountable. That’s what gets you in trouble and lawsuits. So, start firing bad employees by going after the behavior.

There is no magic solution to the employee terminations question

With employee terminations, try not to rely on probation. You’re probably going to see the elimination of the probationary period for management and legal reasons.

The probationary period puts at risk the at will relationship.
You probably won’t be firing an employee at will very often. It’s a one in a thousand situation. But you also want it available to you, forever. The probationary period won’t help. So, if they’re eliminating it, don’t panic.

Timing and employee terminations.
Don’t go running up to the HR person on day 89 of a 90 day probation. If you go up to them and say, “It’s day 89, you’ve got to fire Jennifer” the HR person is going to say, “Where’s your documentation?” Of course, you won’t have any. Well, HR pulls the file. “Well you’re right, there’s no documentation. But you miscounted. It’s day 93. Thus Jennifer has successfully completed her 90 day probationary period, thus we’ve lost our right to fire that employee at will ever again.” Why would we do this to ourselves?

Legal vulnerability with employee terminations.
Don’t be surprised if your company fades these out. You’ll see the elimination of introductory and orientation period as well. You can still have all the benefit-waiting period, where benefits don’t start until you’ve been here 90 days.

You can still have that. And if you’re union or government, after the 90 days or 180 days, you’re not at will anyway, so you’ll still see probationary periods. That’s where probationary periods came from, union and government. It means they have no right to grieve.

Also, supervisors tend to hate to interview. So, you think you’ve got this 90 days, but from a management point of view, this thing is not helping. Because, then management just ends up going, “I’m tired, I don’t want to interview anybody else. Okay, you’re hired. I’ll fix you, I’ll change you later.”

It doesn’t work; it’s not going to fix anybody else. There’s no magic answer to employee terminations. And you’ve got to be very careful who you screen in upfront from day one. Don’t count on that probationary period.

These are the edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar:
“Yes, You Can Fire Without Fear! What Every Supervisor Needs to Know” hosted by Hunter Lott, Esq. on 2-22-07

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