The economy of the United States is in some stage of a recession. The condition is said to be worldwide.
Regrettably, this means that many people will be fired or laid off from their jobs.
Recognize that firing someone is a distasteful and painful experience for everyone concerned. Lives are disrupted; livelihoods are threatened. Egos are devastated. There are costs to employees and employers alike. Therefore, it goes without saying: firings ought to be avoided if at all possible.
Here are some career tips that will help you handle this odious task if you must do it. But it will never be easy.
Common Sense Career Tips
• Once a decision has been made to terminate employees, announce the actions as soon as possible. Be specific and definite. Don’t give the rumor mill a chance to get started.
• If feasible, a senior member of management should deliver the bad news face-to-face or in small groups. Hand out a written statement covering the announcement as a back up.
• Provide all of the facts as to the cause in one announcement. Don’t let unanswered questions and rumors prolong the crisis and feed unrest.
• Express empathy, but resist being overly generous in praise for the employees’ contributions. Such expressions may be translated into some unfounded hope that the decision can be reversed. Also, in this litigious age, praise may be taken out of context for legal action by a disgruntled employee.
• Spell out the terms of severance – pay and benefits. If the circumstances allow it, an offer to provide help in getting another job may be in order. Provide an information center where employees can get information specific to their situation.
• Give employees an opportunity to have their say. This can be a very tedious time. Because of the high emotions on both sides, an angry shouting match can develop. The official making the announcement should maintain his calmness and avoid arguments. Don’t let the meeting become a forum for debate.
• It may seem heartless at the time, but it is better to have employees leave the premises within a very short time. No good is done for anyone if the dismissed employees stay around for any length of time. The inevitable gossip and recriminations will poison the water for all.
Believe it or not, while never welcomed, most firings – if they are justified by sound personnel and economic reasons – can have some positive results if both parties work at making the best of a bad situation.
I wish you success for your journey on the career path!
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Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work