Letting someone go can be difficult, so let Cluboid show you how to confidently broach the topic of termination with tips for adequate prep, execution and aftercare.
A guide to approaching the uncomfortable subject of termination
With great power comes great responsibility. How right you were, Stan Lee. Whilst you may not actually be Spiderman, being the boss or manager of your own bar or nightclub can sometimes seem to be an equally stressful feat. One unpleasant experience that consequently falls to you, is letting staff go. Not only is it a very sensitive subject, if not handled correctly, it can also be upsetting and at times, borderline awkward. Let’s be real. This isn’t The Apprentice, and dropping the ‘you’re fired’ bombshell isn’t quite as easy as Alan Sugar makes it out to be.
Nevertheless, for those in management positions: firing employees is a necessary evil. One of which can be made a lot more comfortable for both parties if approached with intelligent planning and preparation. Let Cluboid share with you a collection of tips from experienced business practitioners for pain-free termination.
Don’t spring it on them unexpectedly. Your staff must have had fair and appropriate warnings.
Verbal warnings, however informal, should be officially documented. Notify your HR rep or even an accountant so the complaint has a legitimate time stamp which can be called upon as evidence at a later date.
If no progress has been made since the first verbal warning, demonstrate that you have offered your employee an opportunity to correct their actions with a formal written notice. This is precautionary, but will put you in good legal stead if the employee intends to contest their termination.
Avoid commotion and potential embarrassment by always addressing the employee as discretely as possible, perhaps before their shift or agree to meet just after. Make sure another management level employee sits in on the meeting as a witness.
Take the time to structure your conversation before the termination. Ensure there is a gradual but direct and documented lead up to why you are letting your employee go.
If you think it may come to is, take security precautions. This might include weaning access to company documents and logins or having your bouncers on hand in the event of anything kicking off.
Thoroughly research employment law specific to your area and field. This might include: notice periods, appeals and potential loopholes. Knowledge is power and you will be grateful to be able to call upon this information should you need it.
Preparation is key. Come to the meeting with the appropriate documentation and proof of the gradual build to termination. Staff then cannot deny your claims and you can demonstrate how and when you attempted to remedy the problem before it came to this.
Regardless of how you feel about the employee, your professionalism should never falter so be respectful and considerate. Losing your cool will only give staff more ammunition to appeal their termination on the grounds of unfair dismissal or unprofessional conduct. Keep on track, and never appear to condemn the employee personally.
You’re a professional, sure, but you’re also a human. If letting someone go is hard for you, you are allowed to tell them so and be apologetic that you’re having to make this business decision.
Cut to the chase. Don’t drag things out and make the experience more uncomfortable than necessary. Be sensitive but direct, they will respect you for it.
Honesty is the best policy. Don’t beat around the bush when telling them the reason for their termination. In the long run, you’ll only be helping them out as the same issue could prove to also be a problem in their next role.
Clearly outline the next steps. You want there to be no room for misunderstanding or potential conflict. Clarify things such as: the date of termination, if they need return company property, recommendations, benefits etc.
If you are letting them go because of punctuality or poor customer service, say so. This will will eliminate the employees defensive streak, and may save you from contesting the termination on grounds of, say, discrimination. If you lied about their performance, it can’t be used as a defense in any legal disputes going forward.
Some staff unfortunately won’t leave that quietly, so it is sensible just to keep your wits about you during the period after termination. Better to be safe than sorry. Keep relevant documents secure and onhand, and if necessary, consult a legal practitioner.
Letting someone go is always going to be an uncomfortable experience, but with adequate warning and a sensitive approach to the discussion, your staff should recognise that it was in fact a last resort. Respect and rationality are key factors in any type of business exchange where you wish for both parties to leave amicably, so as long as you remember to remain both kind and reasonable, you can rest assured in the knowledge that you’ve done right by not only yourself but also your business. And if that’s not what it means to be ‘The Boss’, we don’t know what is.