1) How do you know when it’s time to fire someone?
When does it go beyond the employee just needingA�another chance, a little more training, or extra time?A�When does behavior cross the line.
Sometimes this is cut and dry. You may have strict policies against specific behaviors or actions that clearly establish the need to terminate an employee.
Other times the need to terminate an employee comes after a pattern of behavior is established, and it’s a little less clear when the line is crossed. Here’s some advice for knowing when it’s time to move on.
1. BehaviorA�problems don’t get better.A�You’ve put in the time to try to correct bad behavior, but the problem doesn’t get resolved or gets worse.
2. Performance standards cannot be met.A�Training and extra time to figure it out haven’t worked – the employee is just not able to perform at the required level, and is holding the rest of your team back.
3. The resentment is palpable.A�Everyone in the workplace is tired of picking up the slack for this employee, and they’re starting to lose respect for you and the company for making them do it.
4. You’re always on their case.A�You feel that if you’re not constantly managing the employee, they won’t do anything at all, will makeA�mistakes, or cause other problems.
5. They refuse to change.A�A shift is needed at the company, and the employeeA�refuses to change the way they do things, or cannot seem to learn a new way of doing them.
6. You have better options.A�You know there are muchA�better people out there that you can hire for the job, and the employee doesn’tA�respondA�to training, is notA�making an effort to meet higher standards, or simply cannot do it.
7. They’ve got a contagiously bad attitude.A�The employee brings a lot of negativity to work that spreads to everyone else, hurting morale and making work a drag.
8. The evidence has piled up.A�You’ve got an embarrassingly large file of warnings and write ups. If not now, when?
9. You’re picking up the slack.A�In order to get work done on time,A�youA�end up having to take on more and more of the work that the employee is supposed to be handling.
Other situations may precipitate a firing as well, such as a serious code of conduct breach, or when an employee simply stops showing up, in which case you have aA�job abandonment.
2) Protecting Your Company from Legal Issues
The illegal reasons for firing someone we gave aboveA�may seemA�cut and dry, but while you might believe your reasons for terminating an employee were legal, the employeeA�may have an argument that theyA�weren’t.
Here are 5 tips to help protect your business from wrongful termination suits.
1.A�Keep good records. periactin no rx, lioresal online. A�Instances of bad behavior, safety violations, performance issues, corrective measures, warnings, etc. that can back up the reasoning behind your decision should be well documented.
2. TreatA�employees equally.A�Firing one employee for something while allowing others to continue work who have done the same thing gives the appearance of discrimination. Before firing, compare the case to others. Have you let other employees stay for the same infractions?
3. Follow your own policies.A�Be sure you have followed company policies regarding warnings,A�progressive discipline,A�and terminations.
4.A�Don’t jump to conclusions.A�Investigate to be sure that there hasn’t been some misunderstanding, and that your information about what lead to the decision to terminateA�is accurate.
5.A�Get legal help.A�I’m not a lawyer, nor do IA�play one on the internet.A�Get assistance from a professional lawyer to be sure you are not violating laws, or giving the appearance of doing so.
3) Preparing to Fire an Employee
The decision has been made, but before you have the meeting to let an employee go,A�you should do some preparing.
Here are 5A�things you should do to be prepared for terminating an employee.
1. Review records.A�Be sure to review any personnel records to be sure you have a clear understanding of what lead to this decision, and what actions the company took to prevent it.
2. Understand what will happen to pay and benefits.A�Employees may have questions about this, and if they don’t you should explain when they can expect their next pay check, what days they will be paid for, and what will happen next with their benefits.
3. Plan for other logistical issues.A�Think about the individual employee, and any steps you’ll need to take with them. Do they have a company car to turn in?A�Keys?A�An IDA�badge? Equipment? Know the next steps with these.
4. Plan for succession.A�What will happen to projects, clients, etc. that they’re working with?
5. Know the employee’s next steps.A�Let them know when their last day is, if there’s anything they need to wrap up, how they can get personal items, etc.
6. Review policy.A�Talk to HR or your company’s lawyer, if possible, to make sure you’re clear on any legal issues regarding the termination.
When will they receive their last check? What will happen to their benefits? What happens if they have a company car?
4) What to Say When Firing an Employee
1. Get right to the point. Avoid pleasantries that give them the wrong impression. Let them know you’ve got bad news, that “their employment has been terminated,” with no room for misinterpretation or ambiguity.
2. Stick to the facts. Avoid opinions about the reason. If they’re being fired because of repeated tardiness, say that. Don’t call them irresponsible. If it’s because they failed a drug test, tell them that specifically, rather than saying it’s becauseA�they have a drug problem.
3. Don’t argue, just listen. It’s natural that employees who have been terminated will want to argue. Listen, tell them that you “understand that they feel that way,” but that the decision is final. Once you’ve stated the facts, don’t get drawn into further explanation.
4. Don’t blame, and accept responsibility for the decision. Avoid giving the appearance that this was someone else’s decision and that you wouldn’t have done this.
5. Thank them for their contributions.A�Keep it simple and open, like, “We appreciate the contributions you have made to the company.” Even the worst employees have likely made some contribution, and a little appreciation may go a long way. Just make sure it’s short and sweet.
6. Give them clear next steps. Let them know all the logistics from here out – how pay will be handled, benefits, company property, personal property, ongoing work, their last day, etc
7. Keep it short. General advice is 15 minutes. The employee needs time to process what has happened, and you shouldn’t do too much talking – it leaves you open to saying something that could come back to haunt you.
8. The sooner the better. The longer you wait, the worse this is going to be. It’s likely everyone has some clue what’s going on, and you waiting just makes everyone more uneasy. The faster you do it, the faster everyone can move on.
5) Conducting an Exit Interview
This is more often done with employees who are leaving voluntarily, or because of layoffs.
There’s a good chance that an employee who has been fired will not be interested in participating, and the information they do provide, should they participate, will obviously be colored by circumstances.
But there’s also the potential to get valuable, unfiltered information that may prove valuable to the company, especially if the feedback shows a pattern over time. Here’s a few tips for getting a final exit interview.
1. Have a neutral, 3rd party do it.A�If your company is large enough to have HR staff, they would be appropriate. If not, there may be another ranking employee that can do it. An exit interview with the person that just fired them is not usually a good idea.
2. Use a written or online survey.A�This is a good option if you don’t have the HR staff or someone else appropriate to conduct the interview. A paper version can be given to them on their last day of work or mailed afterward. The electronic version can be emailed.A�Google FormsA�are an easy and free way to create an online survey and organize the information afterward.
3.A�Make it part of a final Q&A session.A�Depending on the circumstances of the termination, there may be a final meeting with the former employeeA�to get any questions about pay, benefits, etc. answered. If the meeting is with HR or another neutral 3rd party, it may beA�a good time to see if they’re open to an exit interview.
4. A few questions to ask.A�You won’t want to ask the same questions of a fired employee as you would a laid off or quitting employee. Probably best to keep it to a few short questions. Here are a some examples.
- What was the most difficult or frustrating thing about your time with us?
- What was the most positive thing aboutA�your time with us?
- Is there any message you think management needs to hear?
- If you could change something about how we operate, what would it be?
Find additionalA�exit interview questions here.
Do The Hardest Part of YourA�Job with Confidence
In the end, terminating an employee is not going to be enjoyable, and you probably won’t feel great about yourself afterward. That’s just part of being human. If you’ve created a solid process around terminating employees though, this will ultimately be a better situation for you and your co-workers.
On the look out for your next great employee? We offer tools to help youA�post job adsA�that reach a larger audience on 100+ job boards, write ads that get more responses, and manage those responses.