The five keys to positive work environment-before and after terminating an employee

by on May 28, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Manage your mouth and send the right message

  1. Remember that you are the boss
  2. Before and after terminating an employee, understand that you’re the boss. Employees are going to look at you like a kid looks at a parent. And they’re going to take your cues. So if you say something stupid or you say a joke, how would an outsider look at it?
    Classic example.
    You’re a supervisor. You go up to your co-worker and employee. “You look very nice today.” And the employee says, “Thank you.” Totally harmless. Now, same words, “You look very nice today!” but they say, “You’re creepy” and they sue. You have to consider how you’re words are perceived.

  3. Manage your mouth.
  4. Think like the outsider thinks. Be careful with jokes or nicknames. Those kinds of things can come back to haunt you when terminating an employee. Telling someone they’d be good with old people at their age, or nicknaming a coworker Osama, those kinds of things get noticed, and will very likely get you in trouble if you ever end up terminating an employee.

  5. Send the right message.
  6. Remember terminating and employee is emotional, not logical. Don’t ask the employees to be on time and then keep coming in late yourself. Likewise, don’t try to claim that they don’t see the hours you put in after they leave. If you want certain behavior expectations from employees, you better be able to set the good example.

    And here’s where it really comes back to you. You go home after a day when you yell at an employee and lose your temper and you’re sitting around the dinner table if you get a chance. And your nine-year old says to you, “Daddy lost it today. You’re number one daddy.” “Number one on what?” “YouTube, there are 40,000 hits so far this afternoon.”

    See, while you were yelling and screaming at the employee, he just hit the button on his cell phone, little video recorder. And there you are, screaming and yelling your full face in this little thing. Now try to explain that to family, neighbors, benefactors, or your boss that you have to yell and scream like this to get anything done at work. This sets a bad example, and makes terminating an employee more difficult. Try as best you can your own example even given that you may have some crazy rules and policies at your work place to send the right message.

  7. Stay out of court.
  8. Be consistent. Make exceptions based on performance, based on behavior. Nothing is going to keep you from having to make judgment calls given the situation. But if you consistently make calls based on age or sex or race , then that’s when the outsider is going to get suspicious.

  9. Documentation, take credit for your good work when terminating an employee.
  10. That’s all documentation does. Why spend the time, the emotional energy and the like to try to sandwich the discipline, to communicate if you’re not going to take credit for it. Get it signed, or initialed, or witnessed.

Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar: “Yes, You Can Fire Without Fear! What Every Supervisor Needs to Know” by Hunter Lott, Esq. on August 22, 2007

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