“You’re only as good as the people you hire.”
– Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s
Leaders are often faced with tough decisions, some of the hardest being the letting go of personnel. But as a business leader, you are responsible for cultivating a quality culture within your company. And sometimes there are people internally that become a threat to the collective culture and goals of your business. Not taking action and expecting the problem to go away can cause even more damage, so when it becomes clear that this person is beyond reprieve, the choice must be made to resolve the issue. However, the handling of the termination can be just as, if not more, important than the actual decision itself. Here are a few tips to make sure this process is done with care and effectiveness.
As mentioned earlier, clarity and timeliness are imperative. Once the decision has been made, putting the termination off can only serve to escalate things unnecessarily. No matter how serious the reason of firing (with some exceptions) it is essential to treat the former employee with thoughtful respect. In most cases, it’s better not to coldly push them out of the door, but rather allow them to express themselves (up to a point) if they so desire. How you handle this firing serves as an example not only to the person being terminated, but also all other employees.
While the news of a firing can have a significant effect on your team in the moment, it is important to be mindful of the whole process even outside the initial termination. The threat of losing one’s job can, of course, have a negative effect on work performance, which is why being open about employee performance is often a necessary habit. By the time of termination, no employee, if it is preventable, should be completely blindsided by your dissatisfaction with their performance. Employees should have consistent feedback in both negative and positive performance.
Everyone involved with your business should have a clear understanding what is and isn’t satisfactory performance. It can also be important to remind yourself of this expectation, especially when it comes to filling the role of the person you decide to part ways with. Approaching the firing process with a firm sense of humanity and openness goes an incredibly long way for all parties involved. Being conscious of how this process affects everyone in your business (both directly and indirectly) is the key to creating a better and more successful work environment.
Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization