HOW TO TERMINATE AN EMPLOYEE: Handling Termination of an Employee

How to terminate an employee
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When you have to terminate an employee, it’s important to do it in a professional manner. Hence, you not only need to know how to terminate an employee, but you also need to know how not to terminate an employee. And that’s what this article is all about. The steps in this article will guide you on what to do to terminate an employee in cases of poor performance and attendance.

Why Should You Terminate An Employee?

If you intend to terminate an employee, you must have a specific cause for doing so. For example, perhaps an employee’s behavior has an impact on your organization, harms workplace morale, or puts your employees’ health or safety at risk. Remember that your rationale for terminating an employee must be compliant with state and federal laws. Here are some of the most typical reasons for terminating an employee:

  • Problems with performance
  • Problems with attendance or frequent tardiness
  • Theft or criminal behavior
  • Employees may face violence or threats.
  • Reorganization of the company
  • Inappropriate personality or attitude in the workplace

While you can fire an employee for any of the reasons listed above, your ultimate decision should be based on the facts and circumstances of each case and employee.

What To Do Before You Terminate An Employee For Poor Performance

Before you terminate an employee for poor performance, attempt the following first:

#1. Make a list of everything.

Documentation is essential. It is possible to argue that if you do not write something down, it did not occur. Informal talks documented in a notebook can also be beneficial and count toward documentation.

#2. Communicate expectations clearly

A job description should be written for each position. Even if nothing is formalized, you should have a firm grasp on the roles and responsibilities of each role on your team. You should also understand what it takes for people to succeed in each function.

It’s also critical that your personnel understand this.

Don’t make assumptions. People bring their own perspectives, which do not necessarily coincide with those of their boss. Each role should be clearly specified to minimize confusion. This makes it easy to identify and correct issues.

Similarly, your progressive discipline policy should be written and documented, describing how remedial action and termination would take place if necessary. This helps to ensure that every problem is dealt with consistently and fairly.

#3. Be an effective coach.

Employees, both new and old, should be coached. This is informal feedback that includes both what is correct and what is incorrect. Consider a football coach. He praises a good pass or a strong tackle while also pointing out missed catches and defensive gaps.

Before considering disciplinary action or termination, your employees require this feedback to understand how they are doing.

#4. Implement a performance enhancement strategy (PIP)

So, let’s assume you’ve been providing ongoing coaching but haven’t seen any change, or you’ve noticed some serious issues with performance that the coaching hasn’t addressed. This is an excellent opportunity to create a performance improvement strategy (PIP).

The PIP should specify the issue areas and provide explicit targets for what the employee must do to address them. PIPs are often used to bridge a skills gap or to identify areas where improvement is needed, rather than for behavior issues or policy infractions.

#5. Provide verbal counseling

In circumstances where a policy is being broken, verbal counseling may be preferable. Use this option to address issues such as attendance, communication, and other behavioral concerns.

Send a follow-up email to your employee if you conduct verbal counseling. (This option does not require a signed paper.)

#6. Carry out written counseling

If things get too difficult to handle and you feel the urge to escalate the situation, you may need to go to written counseling.

Similar to the PIP, written counseling should clearly describe areas that employees must rectify. Again, define explicitly what needs to be improved and how this should be accomplished in writing.

Furthermore, the written counseling agreement should state unequivocally that change must be immediate, marked (noticeable), and sustained.

After you’ve discussed it with them, employees should sign this form. (This does not imply that they must agree with what you’ve recorded.) Their signature merely certifies that they have gotten the counseling.

Now, and this is critical, if you don’t see improvement, or if the employee continues to make similar mistakes, confront them. Don’t put it off until the next follow-up meeting. Keep track of what you’ve addressed and when.

When everything else fails, termination may be the only option.

Read Also: LAYOFF: Definition and Types

How to Terminate an Employee for Poor Performance

With a continued poor performance, here’s how you terminate an employee properly:

#1. Prior to termination, record any difficulties and warnings.

Before you fire an employee, make sure you’ve documented all of the reasons for your choice. For example, an employee may have consistently threatened their coworkers. Take note of each of these situations since they will help you during the meeting and possibly in court if necessary. Take note of any warnings you’ve sent to your employee, such as a negative performance review. Having proof of your efforts to advise them of their flaws makes it easier for them to understand you tried to warn them before making your final decision.

#2. Bring your paperwork to the termination meeting.

Prepare your documentation prior to the commencement of the meeting. Bring any performance assessments, written warnings, or correspondence you’ve had with the employee throughout their time with you. This allows you to go over them and have evidence of why you’re terminating their employment.

#3. Create a termination letter.

While you should avoid making the termination meeting any longer than necessary, make sure to cover all of the fundamentals. Create a transition paper that highlights key elements about their termination. Be precise about the next stages, such as their last day of work, final salary, benefits, ongoing projects, and unused vacation days. Make certain that everything is clear and that they have all of the information they require before the meeting ends. Make them sign the termination agreement and provide them with a copy. A copy should also be kept in the personnel file.

#4. Hold the meeting in a private setting.

Hold the termination meeting in a private setting, such as your office. Make certain that the area you select is free of disruptions and is not subject to scrutiny. Because this is a sensitive topic, it is critical to treat it as such and to provide the employee with the courtesy of holding the discussion in a private setting.

#5. Pay attention to what they have to say.

When an employee is fired, they may experience shock, denial, fury, or grief. Take the time to listen to what they have to say in order to ascertain their actual feelings about the news of their termination. Knowing how they feel about the situation can help you respond appropriately.

#6. Make use of a checklist.

When meeting with the employee you intend to terminate, use an employment termination checklist to keep you focused. Using a checklist ensures that you cover all of your bases throughout the meeting. Your checklist should essentially offer you guidelines on how to inform the employee of what they can lawfully anticipate from you and your organization if you terminate their employment. The checklist also acts as a documentation of what was discussed at the meeting.

#7. Be considerate.

When meeting with the employee, be courteous and respectful. Instead of debating, inform them of your decision in a firm, respectful, and professional manner. Even though you’re letting them leave, ending on a positive note makes them appreciate the time they spent with your organization.

#8. Allow them to question you.

The employee you let go has the right to inquire about your decision. Allow them to ask any questions they have about why you opted to dismiss them and the next steps. Because people react differently to this type of event, it’s critical to give them time to express themselves. Avoid a discussion or a heated disagreement by giving them honest replies.

#9. Hold the termination meeting at the end of the day

Choose a quieter time of day for the termination meeting to show respect for the situation and the employee you’re letting go. Instead of terminating an employee in the middle of the day, wait until the conclusion of their shift when there are fewer people there. This eliminates the need for unwanted queries and probing eyes.

#10. Change security account and login information

Even if you no longer provide them access to your company’s systems, change the passwords, computer logins, and entry codes as a precaution. If they are resentful of their termination, updating this information stops them from doing deliberately, such as logging in and stealing information from your firm.

#11. Take action immediately.

Make your judgment and move fast after you have a well-thought-out basis for terminating an employee. Because the reason you’re firing them is most likely because of the impact they’re having on the firm or your employees, it’s best to put an end to it as soon as possible.

#12. Thank them for their contributions.

Even if you’re letting go of an employee, it’s crucial to thank them for their outstanding contributions throughout their time with you. This allows you to leave the meeting on a positive note while also demonstrating to them that you value them despite having to let them go. Before they go, make sure to wish them well and shake their hand.

How To Terminate An Employee For Poor Attendance

Here’s how to properly terminate an employee for poor attendance:

#1. Complete All Required Documents

If you prepare ahead of time, a termination meeting can become more amicable.

Gather attendance records, issue warnings, and any other supporting documents you may require during the meeting.

Also, if your employee was covered by a group health plan and is eligible for health coverage after termination, you should have the necessary information on hand.

The termination letter is the next document you’ll need.

It explains the basis for dismissal that you’ll also discuss during the termination discussion. It also includes information about the final wages, severance pay, and, if applicable, unemployment benefits.

Additionally, prepare a dismissal checklist that includes any corporate assets that the employee must return, such as an ID card, hardware, keys, and so on.

It’s always a good idea to get legal counsel and consult with your human resources department to confirm that your reason for dismissal is legitimate and in accordance with company policy.

They can ensure that you are abiding by labor laws as well as state-specific employment restrictions.

Furthermore, if you signed an employment contract, your legal counsel can confirm its legitimacy and advise you on the termination procedure.

#3. Set up a termination meeting.

The final step is to set up a termination meeting.

While the talk is never pleasant, and there is no appropriate time to deliver the news, you must schedule the appointment as soon as you have all of the necessary documentation.

How Does an Employee Terminate Their Employment Contract?

An employee may resign from their job for any reason, as long as they provide the employer with written notice of their intention to do so. The period of notice is determined by the parties’ agreement in the employment contract. For some organizations, the employee may resign by issuing a Resignation Letter or by forfeiting one month’s income.

In Conclusion,

Before you terminate an employee for bad performance or poor attendance, there are numerous stages and variables to consider, and it is not an easy process for any of the people involved. However, with a well-thought-out plan of action, good follow-up, and patience, you may feel assured that you’ve taken the necessary measures.

How To Terminate An Employee FAQs

What to say when you dismiss an employee?

Begin with a straightforward and unequivocal statement such, as ‘Your employment has been terminated as of today.’ Whatever you say, make certain that there is no space for doubt. Even expressing ‘will be’ rather than ‘has’ may be perceived as a scenario that can be changed by the employee.

What are the four types of termination?

The four types of termination include voluntary termination, involuntary termination, wrongful termination, and end of the contract.

Can you just terminate someone's employment?

Only when an employee has committed gross misconduct can you terminate them promptly and without any official warnings. However, before terminating their employment, you must have conducted a comprehensive investigation and accumulated sufficient evidence to substantiate the offense.

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