Breaking up is hard to do. The process of firing an employee is never a pleasant one for the people involved. The good news is that you can make the procedure simpler and less painful by involving HR appropriately and following a number of best practices. Understanding HR’s role in employee termination is an important part of streamlining these tough conversations.
How Can HR Help With the Termination Process?
HR can help shape the process in a number of important ways: – Helping managers talk frankly with their employees about expectations – Defining standards and goals more clearly to decrease the need for employee termination – Coaching managers on how to initiate tough conversations – Offering support before and during the actual firing process – Debriefing with management after a difficult termination
Prevention is Often the Best Cure
Some of the most important parts of HR’s role in employee termination do not have to do directly with firing people. Prevention and learning can be the key to more successful relationships with employees, leading to a decreased need for such radical measures. Before managers get to the point of wanting (or needing) to fire a person immediately, they should have multiple layers of safeguards in place. HR is an important factor in building up those safeguards. HR can be directly partnered with managers to direct the discussion about employee reviews. In some companies, there is already a strong culture of clear communication and review. Other companies may have problems in this area. A crucial part of HR’s role in employee termination is minimizing the ïsurprise factor.ï Employees should have regular performance reviews that let them know exactly how they’re doing and whether there’s a chance of termination looming in the future. If it comes as an utter surprise to a person that they’re being fired, HR hasn’t been doing its job.
How HR Can Help When the Worst Happens
Even in a company with a great system of performance reviews and frank conversations about standards, it’s sometimes necessary to fire an employee. This is a place where HR’s role in employee termination can make the process run more smoothly. HR experts know how to have tough discussions, so they can offer advice on how to get through this minefield with as little damage as possible. Conversations with the departing employee should be short and objective. If managers are uncomfortable with the situation, HR can coach them on things they can say without escalating the conflict. Termination is easier when a neutral third party can offer a supportive viewpoint.
Having the Conversation
It’s time to tell the employee that he or she is fired. HR experts can offer some advice to managers on how to have this awkward conversation: – Don’t wait for the perfect time or day of the week to fire someone. Sooner is almost always better. – Show empathy, but don’t waver. – Don’t allow the employee to beg, plead, become overly emotional or make promises to do better. – Tell the employee what will happen next. – Take the employee to HR to fill out the necessary paperwork. If there’s any danger that the employee will become hysterical or violent, bring extra support when you have this difficult conversation. Part of HR’s role in employee termination is offering the help of additional staff when you can’t manage the task alone. You may want to ensure a private space, the support of several managers, or even the nearby presence of security staff if there’s a threat of trouble.
HR Can Help People Understand the Process of Employee Termination
Managers are personally invested in their own work and in their employees. It can be hard for them to look at the firing process with a broader perspective. Part of HR’s role in employee termination is helping both managers and employees remember why this unpleasant task is occasionally necessary. HR can shape the basic company culture in a way that helps people know they’re being treated fairly. In a fair and equitable company, people are fired because they haven’t met performance expectations, not because of grudges, discrimination or unspoken rules. When communication is clear at all stages of everyone’s career, from the initial interview to the last day on the job, no one has to live in fear of retaliation. HR best practices can help employees maintain their dignity and freedom of choice even when there are difficult issues having to do with performance. Hiring and firing aren’t easy. Are you looking for tools to build your management skills? Check out our selection of helpful articles for employers here at Mighty Recruiter.