How to Make “That” Difficult Hiring (or Firing) Decision

January 30th, 2014

Working as a manager or supervisor is a very tough job. Not only do leaders  have added responsibilities, they also tend to work longer hours, and have to manage a team of employees. On top of that, they might be responsible for firing employees who are not getting the job done as well as hiring new candidates to replace lost employees.

If you are someone who is responsible for removing employees from their posts, we have put together some tips you should follow when the need arises.

Offer Help First

If an employee has begun to slack off or cannot seem to figure out a software program your company uses, make sure you first offer help. Do not make a snap decision and fire the employee on the spot. Offer to help the employee understand the software, handle filing reports or other work the employee might be struggling with at the time. Very often, a struggling employee can experience improved performance simply by bringing in temporary help to take on difficult tasks, while you focus on re-training or mentoring the existing employee.

Document All Issues

As a hiring manager, make sure that you document everything regarding the employee in question. This includes documenting every attempt that is made to help the employee, any inappropriate behavior by the employee, missed project deadlines, incorrect work and other performance issues that might arise. Having documentation makes the process of firing the employee much smoother. Records should also include warnings issued or disciplinary action taken against the employee. Records will help the company in the event that the employee sues the company.

Do Not Delay the Process

If you have already made multiple attempts to correct an employee’s behavior, attitude, or skillset, do not drag out the process. Do not let the employee hang around, because the longer he or she is employed, the more likely it is for them to think they are doing a good job. When the time comes, make sure a representative from human resources is in your office as well as the employee’s direct supervisor. Do not give advanced notice of the meeting either. This can cause problems within the office, especially if the employee knows it could be coming.

Be Thorough During the Termination

During the termination meeting, make sure you present your case to the employee in question in its entirety. Take out the records kept about the employee and explain each time behavior was documented or an attempt was made to improve the employee’s performance. Provide the employee with a formal termination letter and stay calm no matter how outraged or tearful the employee might become at the news. Retrieve any company property from the employee and then escort the employee out of the building in person, but with dignity.

Provide Reasonable Notice or Severance Pay (When Required) 

If you are required to give an employee two weeks’ notice prior to being terminated, you have to do this in order to not break any laws. If you want the employee terminated immediately, you should pay him or her the equivalent of two weeks’ salary to make this happen. This gives the employee time to file for unemployment benefits and your office time to send out the COBRA paperwork. It also softens the blow somewhat. Find a replacement employee through your staffing agency, advising them that you are replacing an employee who has been terminated.