No one likes to fire anyone. As result, we have a tendency to put off this unpleasant task. Firing someone will have an impact on your entire staff – either positively or negatively. However, waiting too long can stunt the growth of your business as well as create a low morale among your employees. I hired one employee years ago and she was a star. She went above and beyond what I would have expected of her. However, after she watched some of my mediocre employees, I found she came down to their level. That taught me a lesson!
There is also a possibility that firing that employee could be the best thing that ever happened to him/her. I had one employee who actually came back and told me that firing her taught her to understand and follow a better work ethic. She said it made her a better person.
Steps to employment termination are a process and requires documentation on your part. It needs to begin on the first day of hiring. Your candidate should complete an application. If you don’t have file folders, go buy some and create a personnel file for that employee. This folder should contain the employee application and any notes you have made concerning the hiring. I find most dry cleaners do not have personnel files. It is not very time consuming and is imperative in today’s climate. Every infraction to your company guidelines needs to be noted in this folder. A simple date, time and what transpired. California Labor Laws protect the employees so start building a case from day ONE. You might never need it but you have it. Be clear when you hire the employee. Be clear what you expect in the job and what the employee must be capable of doing.
Experts recommend you give performance reviews twice a year. Mike Kappel, CEO of Patriot Software, states” This will let your employees know if they are doing well. It will give you a chance to give them tips on how they can improve.” This will maybe help, they will improve and you will not have to fire them. Again, DOCUMENTATION is important.
If it appears an employee is unwilling to or unable to improve his/her performance, you must meet with your employee and discuss what needs to be changed. It might be a good idea after the meeting to type a statement summarizing each conversation you have and have the employee sign it. Keep track of these meetings and the results.
If your employee still doesn’t improve after you have given him/her fair warning, don’t wait to fire them. Behave professionally. Try to schedule this meeting with little notice to the employee. Do not do it in front of other employees. But do it when the fired employee can leave quickly. HR experts suggest you do not fire someone on Friday. Monday morning is the best. This way the employee can start looking for another job quickly. The meeting should be quick and to the point. If the employee gets angry, just listen. Do Not respond.
There are legal issues you need to be aware of. Obviously, you can’t fire an employee for discrimination or because they took medical leave, just to name a few. If you are unsure, contact your attorney.
Tell your remaining staff quickly. Every business is a rumor mill so stop it before it starts. You might tell them there will be changes in the workload. No need to go into details. The employees can see what has been going on.
Now, you have done it, don’t take it personally. You did it for the benefit of your company. You want to see your company grow and it cannot with unproductive employees!