Fire Hazard Ahead – 5 Steps to Take Before Firing an Employee

By: MarkWeaver Monday January 26, 2015 comments

We’ve all seen the signs.  We know when an employee isn’t performing, or is behaving in a way that is toxic to the work environment.  When you see the potential of it going down the path to termination, there are some steps you can take to make it less hazardous to all involved:

  1. Keep short lists and have frequent discussions.  Too many employers save up all the stuff that’s bugging them for one massive dump.  Since things haven’t been discussed, the employee ends up surprised, and feels that the real reason must be something else – perhaps discrimination.  Avoid that by not avoiding the discussions you need to have.
  2. Be direct.  Sometimes that’s the kindest thing you can do.  Don’t candy-coat unacceptable behavior.  Be specific about what isn’t working.  When we are direct, some employees will get the message and make the needed adjustments.  Some will exercise their option to leave.  Either way…
  3. Be clear.  Don’t expect the employee to read between the lines.  If the consequence of continued performance problems or behaviors is termination, make sure the employee knows that his job is in jeopardy.  Avoid surprises.
  4. Be complete.  When we don’t fill in all the blanks, assuming the employee can figure this out, the employee fills in the blanks from her vantage point.  And her vantage point isn’t one that’s been working too well.  Instead, make sure she understands your vantage point.
  5. Review.  As employers, we can get caught up in the solution and just want to be done.  That doesn’t help us make the best decision.  Review to be sure that anything that could be used against you isn’t effective.  If there is some merit to a concern of an illegal, unjust, unethical, retaliatory, or discriminatory process, there is a much different process to follow.

There are ways to end any employment relationship.  Some of them are risky; some cost money; most are straightforward.  A good rule of thumb for the straightforward ones?  Treat people like you would like to be treated if the roles were reversed.
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About the Author: MarkWeaver


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