button Vol. 5
No. 6
Winter 2000

line INSIDE line

America's Work Ethic: How Hard Do We Really Work?
line Terminating Employees: Ease the Pain
line NLRB Allows Temps to Join Unions
line Woman Not Hired Because She Valued Family Life Too Much
line Notes on Recent NLRB Decisions
line Leave for Domestic Violence-Related Services
- New Law
line The Trusted Advisor
- Book Review
line Briefs

Braun Consulting News
News on Personnel, Labor Relations and Benefits

See our Archive Pages for Back Issues of Braun Consulting News!

button Terminating Employees: Ease the Pain.

From time to time we review traditional topics as a refresher for our readers. A recent article from the Seattle Chapter of NHRMA addresses that difficult task of terminating an employee. Here is what the NHRMA recommends.

The main point of advice is to stick to the specifics and remember that "less is more". These points will help:

  • Rehearse. Anticipating questions and your answers and rehearsing your message gets you prepared for the meeting, and can help take some of the emotional sting out of it.

  • Pick the right day. If possible schedule your meeting for mid-week, in the morning. This allows time for the employee to clean out their desk and say their good byes.

  • If possible, deliver the message in the person's office. This will allow you to control your exit. It also allows the terminated individual to remain in his or her own environment instead of forcing them to walk down the halls to their office. The next best alternative is a neutral space that allows some privacy.

  • Open by announcing that you have bad news, then state the facts. Stop and be prepared to tolerate the silence for a couple of moments. If you find you are still talking after five minutes, you are probably getting yourself into trouble. Answer any questions honestly and carefully, but make sure that the decision is not subject to debate.

  • Express the reasons for terminations in broad terms. For example you would note that the employee displayed a pattern of inappropriate behavior. Do not suggest that a precipitating event was the sole reason for termination. Of course you must never provide a false reason even if you are trying to protect the employee's feelings.

  • Pass the individual on to your human resources department for information regarding benefits, severance pay and other relevant information.

  • Communicate directly and promptly with the immediate group of employees or peers that will be affected by the change. Generally you would not disclose the reason for a particular termination to your workforce, clients or anyone else.

  • Whenever possible, in the termination meeting you should discuss what you will be saying to other employees and the public at large if appropriate. You can minimize your chances of litigation if you can reach an agreement that permits the employee to save face.

  • Don't overlook other issues that may apply, such as blocking computer access, require any company property or confidential documents to be returned to the company. Address confidentiality and the security of information technology in every determination where this is appropriate.

  • Talk to your colleagues, supervisor or a group of other managers to debrief. This will give you a chance to talk about the feelings that you experienced and to hear the reactions of the other involved.

These points should help you as a guideline in maintaining your focus and composure going into a potentially emotional or volatile situation. remember to get professional help if only to rehearse the facts involved and the actions you are going to take. Give BCG a call or send a email if we can be of help.

NLRB Allows Temps to Join Unions Next Page

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