Assuming the reason for termination isn’t gross misconduct, it’s recommendable to make a firing as clement as possible. A gentle dismissal is one that is clear, concise and sets up the sacked employee for their next venture.
An employee that is habitually kept up to speed about their performance throughout their tenure, will both be less taken by surprise if and when termination becomes necessary and more likely to have various plans of recourse occupying their brain before an official layoff takes place.
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Sometimes a professional parting of ways is the best course of action. Here are what the experts have to say about the best ways to go about it.
Keep it direct and keep dismissed employees informed
The worst kind of breakups are the ones filled with vague -corny borrowed phrases. This applies to professional dumps as well. A clear and direct explanation gives the fired employee constructive things to take away, things to reflect on and learn from. Withholding cogent honesty on an employer’s part in an attempt to avoid offending the soon to be jobless worker, is condescending and unproductive.
Management and organization development consultant, Susan M. Heathfield, recommends employers bring a checklist to the termination meeting. A checklist can help executives remain on track, keep the employee informed about what to expect next, in addition to being evidence of the exchanges that were shared during the layoff conference.
Kari Rosand Scanlon, Principal Consultant of Spotlight HR Solutions, adds to Heathfield’s point regarding clarity in a piece featured on ZipRecruiter. Scanlon writes, “First, the manager needs to pinpoint the main reason for letting someone go – layoff, violation of policy, performance – then the manager, with the help of an HR specialist, needs to ensure that the reason is not discriminatory in any way.”
Open Dialogue and its ensuing effect
Communication is integral both during and after dismissal has taken place. Bypassing pejoratives, or vague mean spirited barbs encourages the recently fired worker to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Gregory DeLapp, chief executive of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, recalls going so far as to personally call a former staffer the day after termination, just to check in and give them information regarding their 401k and insurance coverage…also to deter any sort of retaliation ideations. The former employee in question was identified as a potential security risk. Even still Mr. Delapp, remained calm and direct, stating the following: “At the end of this you’re going to land on your feet. You’re not going to be with the company, and we’re not going to have a problem. Are we clear?”
How you conduct a firing extends beyond the relationship between you and the terminated employee, it also impacts the culture of your office. Advertising virtues of a measured, thoughtful leader even in inherently uncomfortable situations will influence how staffers work and perceive you.
Lately, most experts agree that Friday is the worst day to let someone go, but there seems to be a lot of conflicting thoughts when it comes to the best day to lay someone off as painlessly as possible.
Scanlon believes that Monday is the best day to give someone the boot because it makes it easier for remaining employees to adjust to working without the firee in the office, as well as giving the firee six whole business days to look for work immediately.
Conversely, chief people officer at recruiting software company Jobvite Inc, Rachel Bitte, estimates that Tuesday through Thursday is closer to the mark. This way dismissed employees can utilize the business days to follow up on any lingering concerns and the remaining staff can enter the middle chunk of the week with the opportunity to get some reassurance that their job is still safe.
Against the Monday claim, Healthfield corroborates the mid-week firing method, writing, “Preferably, this decision is made mid-week, early in the day on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. This gives the employee some work hours during the week, and she doesn’t feel as if she wasted her time coming to work which happens when you fire an employee on Monday.”
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