Breaking up is hard to do

Breaking up is hard to do.  Sometimes.  Then there are those instances where we feel relief from the burden on having to manage an employee that doesn’t want to be part of what the organization has going on.  When the time has come, be prepared so that the process and transition go as smoothly as possible.

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The day has come.  You’ve rolled into work with the hatchet in hand, but don’t just swing it.  Think.  Did you document all the conversations, do you have a plan for the termination meeting and do you know what happens when it’s over?

  1. Document, document, write it down, write it up…  The smoothest terminations occur when the employee expects it.  They should see it coming.  If there is a behavior that has been identified and coached to and not changed, that employee has been a willing (or unwilling) participant in the end of his/her career with your group.  They have been put on notice with that write up and if you have arrived at this point, then they don’t wish to continue with you either if it has gone unchanged.  That paperwork will also assist you in the short term if there are unemployment filings to deal with.  
  2. Just do it.  Or maybe think that through a smidgen.  Where will you do it?  What time of the work day?  What will you have with you?  Who will be there?  What happens at the conclusion of the meeting?
    • When – my preference on making the cut is end of day.  Some people may have cleared out, less of an audience making the exit from the building less awkward.  Less co-workers will also give less time to spend chattering about what just happened and speculating of why it happened.  So, go for the end of the day.
    • Where – That is dictated by your environment, but it should be somewhere private and quiet.
    • Who – Have a witness, a third party.  Someone that can be an observer of the process
    • What – prepare a short letter.  Just the facts – you are being terminated on (insert date here) due to (insert infraction here).  You can include that you were warned/coached/disciplined/etc on (insert date here).  If there is information on continuation of benefits of payout of unused time off, that can also be noted in this letter.  If there is company property outstanding that needs to be returned, this is where that information should also be noted with the desired returned by date.
    • Then the leaving – walk that person out.  If there are belongings to be gathered, stand with them.  Don’t provide an opportunity for anything to not go according to your plan.  Stay in control of the situation.  Make sure that the access points are addressed – keys, log ins and other security items (such as badges).  Gather those items prior to the employee leaving the property.
  3. The aftermath.  What happens to those left on the battlefield?  I feel that it is important to address with the group that is left that someone is no longer an employee.  Do not elaborate on reasons why and how it came to pass.  But, take this opportunity to help your group refocus to the positive and support them through the upcoming changes.