Six Steps for Planning and Managing a Termination

Often, managing a termination is a highly emotional event for both the manager and the employee. If not well planned, the meeting has the potential to get out of control. There are six steps that are the foundations of  “best practices” for the collaborative efforts between Human Resources, the attorney and Career Consultants when managing a termination skillfully. 

PRE TERMINATION PLANNING

A well thought-out termination plan is the first step in managing a termination skillfully. There are over 40 critical points to consider prior to terminating an employee.

   

CRAFTING AND DELIVERING THE MESSAGE

This potentially highly emotional event can escalate out of control and be damaging to the employee, the manager, and the company if the message is not carefully planned and delivered well. This step requires careful collaboration between HR, Legal Counsel and the Career Consultants Outplacement Consultant in order to ensure the message is crafted and delivered in a legal, business like and compassionate way.

   

ADDRESSING REACTIONS AND EMOTIONAL RESPONSES

Managers report that addressing reactions and emotional responses is probably the most difficult aspect of managing the termination meeting. However, the possibility of emotional responses such as shock, disbelief, anger, bargaining, threats and depression is predictable.  Appropriate responses require careful consideration, including coaching and role playing, in order to manage those difficult situations skillfully.

   

TRANSITIONING THE INDIVIDUAL OUT OF THE OFFICE

The most common complaint, reported by individuals being transitioned out of the organization, is they felt they were treated poorly when they were told to leave the office. Do not underestimate the damage that can be done to a company’s culture and reputation if this step is not done well.  The following situations could be problematic:

  • When to have people clean out their office and leave the premise.
  • How to escort them out of the office without disruption.
  • When it is appropriate to allow them to say good byes to co - workers after the meeting.
   

COMMUNICATING WITH CO – WORKERS ABOUT THE TERMINATION

In managing a termination skillfully, it is important to understand that co-workers will also be impacted by the termination and, for some, the emotions can be traumatic.  Some survivors cope with the same emotions as their departing colleagues [shock, denial, etc.] Others may be angry because they have to absorb more work at no additional pay; or may fear that they will be impacted by future terminations; and some of the most talented in the group may be targeted by recruiters or begin to dust off their resume to see “what else is out there?”

   

METRICS: WHY MEASURE THE CAREER TRANSITION PROCESS? 

The adage “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it and if you do not manage it you can’t improve it” applies to Planning and Managing The Termination Skillfully, just as it applies to measuring an organization’s sales, profits or productivity. It is critical to measure the effectiveness of the team who planned and managed the first five steps of the termination process outlined above. In addition, it is important to evaluate Career Consultant’s services to ensure that your organization has benefited from managing the termination skillfully.