How to Handle the Most Difficult Human Resources Task

The most difficult part of any manager’s job is when they must terminate employees. Forbes magazine warns managers that this experience will be emotionally charged, so it must be properly and proactively handled. Following the advice below will help HR managers smoothly and respectfully conduct themselves in ethically and legally appropriate ways.

Documentation Preparation

The easiest way for a disgruntled employee to sue their former company is when they are terminated without well-documented justification. Even when employees engage in highly inappropriate conduct, such as theft and harassment, supervisors and managers must carefully document all incidents, concerns and disciplinary actions. Remember the HR mantra that drives accountability and legal protection: if the event is not documented, it doesn’t exist in the eyes of the court. Managers should be able to show that the decision to terminate the employee is the final step in a fair, careful and thoughtful process. Therefore, future dismissals for poor performance begin with documenting employee evaluations, coaching and training plans.

Exit Meetings

It is best to conduct a final exit interview with the terminated employee in the presence of an HR representative. Employees who are terminated because of theft, sabotage, violence or drug-induced accidents must be immediately escorted off of the property by a supervisor. For most employees, simply choose a private office that ensures confidentiality with the potential emotional reaction. Employees who work in shared cubicles or offices should be offered the option of returning at a later date to collect their things. Explain the reasoning for the decision in objective terms and offer professional direction in applying for new jobs, updating resumes and moving forward. This provides the best opportunity to end the meeting on a somewhat positive note.

Some employees may vent frustration or express unhappiness. Avoid being drawn into an argument about the decision. Simply stand up, hand them the final paperwork and have a company representative escort them off the property. Contact us today to ask any HR related question and learn how we may help your organization.