Many managers struggle with involuntary terminations. You have a million reasons why it might be time to let someone go, but you aren’t sure how to go about doing it. Let’s face it – who really wants to have this kind of discussion? It’s hard to tell someone you are taking away his current livelihood. But if you manage people, sooner or later you will have to let one or more members of your team go for a variety of reasons. Here’s why a termination checklist can help you navigate through a tough situation rather so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.
First, can we take a minute to remember that employees are people who have bills to pay and families who depend on them. There might be circumstances where an employee poses such a high safety risk or might damage company property, in which cases swift and abrupt action might be the best path. Other times, though, an employee simply might not be able to perform at the level you need for the job. No two terminations are alike. A little compassion can go a long way, especially when a negative review of your company is one click away on glassdoor or indeed. Also, this is a prime opportunity to leverage HR support (in fact, it’s recommended on the checklist!).
Next, a checklist helps you remember the things you need to know when you’re telling someone they can’t work for you anymore. You start with an individual assessment to determine the best approach under the applicable circumstances. A checklist also helps you remember to disable the employee’s access to information systems (ever fire someone and then you hear about the mass work email he or she sent from home 2 hours later after logging on remotely from home? Ugh.). Company property is valuable, whether electronic or in the form of documents. You need to remember to collect company property. Plus, without a systematic approach to termination, a company faces a higher likelihood of getting sued. Employment claims are costly to defend. Just check out the number of EEOC claims being filedin any given year! Perhaps more important than money…employment claims can be a huge distraction from the business, with leaders being pulled away from running the business to sit in a deposition or testify in court. Then add to that the hours and days of time spent preparing for a deposition, etc., and you can practically see the dollar signs of lost revenue flashing before your eyes. It’s avoidable.
Remember – A termination checklist helps leaders and their HR partners:
- Thoroughly think through the decision.
- Understand any risk involved.
- Plan for potential action and reaction.
- Ensure safeguarding of company property.