Tips Aimed at Procedures for Termination of Company Employees

Tips Aimed at Procedures for Termination of Company Employees

When considering my approach to terminating employees who fail to perform to standards, I reflect back through my own professional life as an employer. I realize there have been times when the decision was quick and seemingly easy because of a severe breach of company policy on the part of the employee.

However, even with these decisions, I always tried to remain conscious of the potential effect the termination would have on the rest of my work force as well as the family of the employee now unemployed. It is also important to note that -for me the longer an employee had been with our company, the more difficult it was to part ways.

Then, there were those particular employee situations that presented some of the most difficult decisions of my career.

Having worked consistently for the company for an extended period of time sometimes years it is not unusual for an employee's performance to fall in one or more of the following three categories: non-alignment, poor attitude or not keeping pace.

When the values, ethics or principles of an employee are revealed to be opposed to that of the company, the non-alignment begins to erode the relationship. This cannot be changed through training. Rather, it is a condition that becomes more evident over time.

Whether it's personal problems, dissatisfaction with the job or any of a number of "stories," a poor attitude will wear out everybody nearby and has the added danger of spreading throughout an organization if not checked thoroughly. While there is always potential for change here, it is not likely. Again, it is only a matter of time.

It is my feeling that in order for a company to truly be successful, it needs to grow and evolve. While the company grows and evolves, employees may be either reluctant or resistant to the changes around them or they may simply not be equipped to keep pace with that environment. To prevent this from happening, offer a thorough training program as new employees will be made aware of the company philosophy and the goals set to be achieved.

But be warned: All of these situations speak to a deterioration of an initial relationship founded on trust and respect. Once questions begin to arise, it can be very difficult to repair and strengthen, let alone move on to greatness.
As an employer, I have always been concerned about treating my employees with a strong sense of fairness.

Consequently, I am often consumed with whether I have done all that I could to clarify the job description for a new employee or if I have provided the necessary tools and training. I always wonder if there is more that I can do.
I believe that many employers are troubled with the decision to release employees because of the investment in years of experience they have spent with those employees. Granted, the relationship between employee and employer can be one of the most rewarding and significant relationships of our lives. And, it is also natural to have reservations about whether we can do without a particular person, an employee who was with us from day one, or who we have become "friends," with or the big one a family member. As a result, we as employers can get paralyzed by indecision.

My long-time management coach told me many times: "Hire slowly, release quickly." Therefore, asking ourselves two simple questions can provide the motivation needed to make the right decision regarding whether or not to dismiss an employee.

  • "Is this person a good employee or a great employee?"
  • "Would I hire this person for this position if they were applying today?"

If the answers to one or both of these questions is no, then it may be time for a change. You don't want to get to the point that the decision is made for you.

As a final thought, consider that Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, states that "One great employee can do the work of three good ones."

Another way to look at it is when you find the right employee you will be paying more for greatness, but at the same time lowering total payroll expense and pumping productivity through your business.

Kimball Derrick
The Kitchen Design Studio
Cincinnati, OH