Posted on 09 Nov 06
EMPLOYEE TERMINATION 101
If an employee quitting would relieve, rather than upset, you, why is that person still there? Here are four common termination traps, and how you can avoid them:
“Im afraid that the system will walk out the door.” This holds particularly true for people in financial and IT positions. The “if they left, I wouldnt know what to do” excuse is a sure sign that youve failed to develop Standard Operating Procedures.
When it comes to financial, IT, or other critical areas, have the person in charge create the SOPs and then have a third party review it for completeness. If the proverbial Mack truck hit this employee, could someone come in and run that position tomorrow, based on their review of the SOPs? If not, get the procedures perfected until they could. You should be more system dependent than people dependent.
“Theyve been here for such a long time.” Many employees have longevity of service, as well as friends and relationships within the workplace. However, their performance has declined seriously. These are the most dangerous types of claimants. In fact, the older a discharged worker gets, the higher their average verdict becomes.
The solution to this situation is documentation, consistency, and fairness. Document a long-time employees shortcomings no differently than those of a new employee. Be consistent in your documentation and apply discipline without regard to age, race, gender, and so forth. Remember that at times, it can be less expensive to keep long-term employees than it would be to fire them. Perhaps what they really need is some training and motivation.
“I dont want to be seen as a bad person.” Nobody likes to be cast as the villain. When you finally decide that good ole George has to go, there will be plenty of sentiment, justified or not, that his termination was unfair. Because we dont enjoy having bad things said about us, its all too easy to forsake our duties to the company and fellow employees by keeping an under-performing worker on the payroll. The chances are that when you finally let this person go, other employees will thank you for it and tell you about other bad conduct that they wished you had known about previously.
The best way to check your head in this case is to view the HR That Works Pre-Termination Checklist.
“Firing might make me look bad as a manager.” If youre the person who hired this non-performer, and youre forced to terminate them, your boss might wonder why youre wasting corporate assets. Are you really a good manager? Do you really know how to hire in the first place? How many others like this marginal employee are you still managing?
Once again, the solution is process, process, process. No manager makes a perfect hire every time. No manager can motivate every employee who doesnt want to perform. What you want to do is beat the odds by following the hiring, performance management, and pre-termination checklists.
For more information on the products and services offered by Don Phin and the Employer Advisors Network, visit http://www.donphin.com.