Termination: Top Four Mistakes Made by Management


“Dicey” comes to mind when considering a great description of most terminations.  My advice to you? Always move forward with a termination slowly, with great thought, and consult someone you trust.

The List

I compiled a list of ways terminations probably backfire.  In addition, I included the techniques to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

  1. Failing to understand the law. Some managers believe the adage, employment-at-will, means they can fire for any reason.  Not true.  Your move:  Persuade your leaders that all decision-makers need to be trained in employment law basics. Consequently, up-date your managers constantly.
  2. Failing to document. Managers occasionally fail to track employee performance and behavior, therefore, making it difficult to support your defense.  Your move:  Make sure managers know how and when to document.  Require them, also, to consult HR before firing.
  3. Failing to document objectively. Documents including managers’ personal comments, overstatements, and emotionally charged language undermine your defense.  Your move:  So, teach managers to leave out hyperbole and emotion.  “Just the facts, please.”
  4. Failing to deliver a properly-formed termination message. Common pitfalls include making statements which could bind the organization.  In addition to binding statements, pitfalls consist of beating around the bush and trying to be too kind.  Your move:  Assist managers in rehearsing the message.  Use written points, if necessary.

In Conclusion

Produce a Training Handout. As a result, you will teach your supervisors how to conduct graceful, lawsuit-free terminations.  When an employee shows productivity or behavioral problems, interview that person frequently until the issues are corrected.  Document all of these conversations.

If you feel you need more instruction or consultation on this subject, call me at 940-228-0550.