Terminating employees is probably one of the toughest decisions for HR managers. Even though termination needs to be done due to employees’ unsatisfactory performance, you need to have a very thorough consideration before firing them. Similar to the hiring process that requires many steps to take, terminating employees also consists of several steps to ensure that they do not have a hard time after being told that they can no longer work in your company. Before going through the uneasy journey of letting employees go and the hassle of finding the right substitutes, here are some questions you need to ask.
Employees’ inability to fulfill the company’s demands may not be their fault in the first place. You may have employed a candidate or promoted an employee who failed to meet the company’s expectations. Telling someone what to do verbally is not enough and this often leads to them failing to meet the company’s expectations that are not stated clearly since the beginning. The best way to ensure an employee understands what you anticipate is for you to clearly explain and write down what your performance expectations are for them, as well as how they will be assessed. This decreases the possibility of falling back into the same hole, and it also provides an opportunity to look in the mirror and reflect on yourself. Asking this will give you time to consider if firing them is necessary, so you do not rush in terminating employees.
One of the common reasons why employees fail to fulfill a company’s demands is because they do not have the right onboarding to begin with. As an HR manager, ask yourself this: do you educate new employees to the company’s culture and practices, or do you trust them to find it out on their own? Do you inform them who to communicate with if they have questions, or do you provide them a procedure to follow if they are unsure what to do? Onboarding process is the chance for new employees to learn as much as possible, so that they can do their job well, and if you do not give them enough time or training during this phase, they may get lost as time goes by. Make sure you have a proper onboarding phase in place and if you already do, but your employees are still underperforming, then proceed to the next step.
Employees might know what is expected of them, but lack the skills to do the job. In that case, the company needs to provide employees with the right tools as well as skills, both soft skills and technical skills. If the company does not have the time or budget to provide such training, make sure you do a thorough job up front to match a person’s skills and abilities to the demands of the job. This is also the same as tools; if your employees are using their own gadget, which lack the capacity to deliver their job on time, maybe it is time to evaluate your company policy about providing necessary tools and gadgets. However, if they are already given the proper gadget, but are personally lacking in skills from time to time, you can proceed to consider terminating them.
Many managers find it difficult to tell their employees how they can improve. However, without proper, detailed feedback on what is and is not working, progress is nearly impossible. How would you know what to change? Employees require precise behavior-based feedback to enhance their performance, and it is the employer’s responsibility to deliver it. Before rushing into the decision of terminating employees, review the quality of your behavior-based performance feedback. Providing training to help an employee improve is doable, but when an employee has completely “checked out”, there might be nothing left to fix. Even the best training can’t repair an unmotivated, disengaged employee. Thus, before cutting them loose, determine if the problem is related to motivation and find out if this is a fixable situation.
Leaders should stay informed and reachable throughout a process or project. That is not to argue that leaders should hover over their people, but they must be present. If they are not always supervising, they should be in touch periodically so that their employees may ask questions, seek assistance, and get the help they need to keep their project on track. HR managers, on the other hand, should also conduct routine check-ups on employees to see the effectiveness of their job performance in general. Without such direction, the employee may be condemned to failure. Furthermore, if you do not have or do not have any legal termination law in your company policy yet, create one now and communicate it to the whole company. HR is responsible for making employees aware of their work ethic and workplace behavior.
Sometimes, the reason why your employees fail to perform well may root from the employer’s side instead of the employees’ themselves. This is why reflecting upon your company practices is mandatory before deciding to lay off employees that you deem incompetent. This will prevent you from having to consider further termination later on. Getting the right talent is difficult, and keeping them is much more challenging. So, before you fire your committed employee, make sure you give them enough room to be in the “right” capacity.
Read also: Do’s & Don’ts When Designing Job Ads