Don’t make these mistakes when terminating an employee

August 10, 2016 | By SBS Payroll, Inc. 0 Comments

While the process of hiring someone can be an exciting endeavor, the flipside – terminating an employee – can be overwhelming, nerve-racking and emotionally draining. It’s a situation every human resources leader has found him or herself in over the course of their career. Although many will want to get the action over with as quickly as possible, there’s a right and wrong way to handle the termination of an employee. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest mistakes HR teams should avoid when handling this delicate process:

HR leaders shouldn't wait too long to terminate an employee who's not improving.HR leaders shouldn’t wait too long to terminate an employee who’s not improving.

Hesitating for too long
It’s good for company leaders to have faith in their workers – to believe that employees will improve if only they’re given the time to do so. While some people can truly flourish with additional days or months, others aren’t capable of the same growth. Additional coaching and forgiveness of mistakes can help workers put their nose to the grindstone and make every attempt to succeed, but sometimes it’s not enough.

Business executives need to recognize when it’s time to cut their losses. Inability to fit into company culture, lack of motivation and errors that can’t be fixed are just some of the signs that employees aren’t going to work out, according to Inc. magazine. Instead of waiting until these issues seriously damage the reputation of their organization, HR should take the initiative to ask troublesome workers to leave.

“Terminations should be kept short and sweet.”

Dragging the conversation out
Terminating someone is a challenging process and the uncomfortable nature of the situation can cause those doing the firing to ramble. This makes the process even awkward – for both parties. Not only will the ex-employee be frustrated with the additional language, but it can put HR teams in a big hole they’ll need to dig themselves out of. To make the situation as painless as possible, company leaders should be transparent, but to-the-point. It’s important for leaders to share the reason why the worker is being let go, but avoid apologizing for the termination, according to Harvard Business Review. The personal responsibility should rest on the individual instead of HR. Keeping the termination discussion short and sweet will be best for all parties involved.

Lacking compassion
If HR teams think firing someone is challenging for them, they should imagine what it feels like to be the employee. These situations can come from out of the blue for some workers, even if leaders have shared warnings and given as many indications as possible. As a result, it’s common for people to be upset by their termination. It’s critical for companies to show compassion and understanding. Terminations should not only be conveyed in person, but in writing so employees have something to refer back to later, according to U.S. News and World Report. In addition, scripting the conversation will ensure those doing the firing know what to say and are aware when elements of the dialogue could become difficult for workers to hear.

Termination is not an easy process for both HR teams and workers. No matter how arduous the task is, companies need to employ the right tactics to ensure the situations are handled tastefully. Unfortunately, some leaders make critical mistakes when taking this action, including waiting too long, dragging out the conversation and lacking compassion during the discussion. As a result, employees may feel even more angry than they would have initially. Ensuring the situation is tackled with empathy and understanding, both parties can walk away from the conversation better off.  

SBS Payroll’s HR Management Solutions offers companies helpful business tools. With SBS’ assistance, businesses have access to a team of professionals that can assist with tasks including employee relations, hiring, terminations and much more.



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