What makes employee terminations so difficult?

by on May 27, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Employee terminations are an emotional subject

The last thing on their mind
The fact is with supervisors and small, growing business owners, employee terminations are one of the last things on their mind. They don’t even want to even though they know they should. As a manager, you have to take some of the fear out of employee terminations. Obviously you can’t take the emotions out of it. But you do need to understand what’s at stake, what options that we have, whether you’re a small business, large business, public or private, given all the constraints that some of us have on employee terminations. Try to get to a point where you understand where you are and what options you have.

When you take a look at all the headlines about companies being forced to pay out huge settlements and payouts as a result of harassment, retaliation or discrimination, you might realize that even though it’s a very small percentage of employers causing trouble, these companies make management operations everywhere look bad.

What’s interesting when you look at all those cases they all have one thing in common. All of these lawsuits and settlements could have been avoided. The vast majority of the lawsuits and the fear that associated with employee terminations in terms of legal exposure could have been avoided with some simple management practices.

The goal of these practices is to blend harmony, productivity and staying out of court.

There are three key principles to achieving this blend. Those principles are consistency, documentation and understanding that you’re the boss. Understand that you shouldn’t have to abdicate your responsibility as a supervisor at any company, at any level, and base your management judgment on the worst employee you have.

Again, terminating an employee is a very emotional subject. But frontline supervisors consistently say that they don’t want to terminate any employee. That’s fine. Don’t. Instead, change the mindset. Think of it as giving an employee their job. Think of it as saying to them “Here, here’s your job. You decide. You can become productive. You can behave. You can quit. You can fire yourself. I’m not going to do this to you. I’m going to give you your job. It’s up to you to decide.” That way you’re not actually doing anything. It’s entirely in the hands of the employee.

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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