In a previous post, we discussed the increase in violence and the danger of violence in termination. As we said in a previous post, terminating an employee is never fun or easy. It’s simplest if you keep the termination short and sweet.
Let’s look at a few helpful tips.
First, plan out the meeting. Ad-libbing is the worst thing to do in a termination situation. We all do it, and most of us regret it, so let’s start with specifics. Always have an additional witness attend the meeting.
Script out what you plan to say and stick with the script even if you have to read it. WE find it helps to go into the meeting with a bullet point list.
Begin with writing down your first sentence, i.e. “I have something difficult to share, today is your last day working for this company?” (This avoids using the words terminated or fired which can be inflammatory in nature.) If the person asks, “why”, one option is “It’s not working out.”, but be aware that if it’s for a lay off or wrongdoing, you’ll probably want to get some script language to assist.
The second sentence is “Here is your final check. It includes compensation for all the hours you have worked.” You may or may not want to include unused leave, but be careful about severance pay as that has to be handled carefully with appropriate language to communicate employee rights. If not done correctly, the severance pay letter can backfire on you.)
A few recommendations:
- Provide COBRA information (or your equivalent state continuation of coverage)
- Have a trusted company person watch while the person packs up personal belongings, and make certain all company property is turned over to HR or the company representative as the terminated employee leaves.
- Consider the employee might be able to take protected information via flash drive or server log-ins.
- Consider what clients may have access to the employee’s cell number and how you will communicate the employee’s departure to clients and other employees.
- You may wish to arrange for some form of security to be nearby if the situation is really voluble.
When or how a trusted HR consultant can assist you:
- Creating your own customized discipline and termination process.
- If you’re considering severance pay.
- If the issue might involve medical and/or long or short term disability issues.
- If there’s the potential for a discrimination or harassment issue.
- If you’d like training on termination and managing poor performers.