Sense and Sensibility: In case of termination

Non performance, disciplinary issues, company in loss, behavioral issues or just ‘want to get rid of someone’…terminating employees has become a trend in the companies, as the patience level goes down, the rate of termination goes high. And sometimes, no matter how afraid we get of  terminating an employee, even when it is an absolute requirement, we pass the buck by saying lets give them a chance…but understanding when and where to give a fair chance is a complicated method, although we all work on our instincts, still it is a matter of someone’s career or may be their bread and butter….Hence why not think before we take such a step, here is a write up to work on our sense and sensibilities to guide Our Gen next to empathize with their employees, where and how.

There was a query on the forum a few days back, that one of the senior level employees had been accused of sexual harassment by 3 female employees, and still the company did not take any action and just let him go with a warning and counseling, no enquiries initiated, no written explanation…And what will be the position of the three female employees now…no one considered that.

Generally with sexual harassment the standard is if you know or have known that the conduct was occurring, you need to take immediate and appropriate corrective action to make it stop. Even termination of the employee can be considered if the proper process is being followed, as mentioned in the law and company policy.

A lot of times we have seen Managers bury their actions as they are scared of legal complications, massive settlements, or claims of wrongful termination and yes, why not if you are not properly prepared and not thinking smartly, you have all the reasons to be scared.

What makes sense??

Company policy on Termination: A clear cut, well defined policy speaks louder than any claim that an employee makes, a Smart HR professional is always proactive in designing the policies and procedures in order to avoid getting in to such law suits or other complications. If there are any amendments, make sure to announce and update, a slight mistake can cause several millions to the company.

The procedure Implementation: No matter how small or big the mistake is, in case of any kind of misconduct, the entire procedure needs to be followed in a proper manner with documentation as and when required. I know of an instance, where one female member was asked to leave on disciplinary grounds as she was caught stealing something, the Manager let her go after a warning (verbal), and then after a few days she accused the same manager of harassing her.

Maintain consistency: Same misconduct, similar issues and if earlier you bid good bye to one of the employees, then for the next one also you have to do the same. As a general rule, an employer’s response to a particular problem should be consistent with its policies and responses to prior, comparable situations. Bias, opinions and judgments always create an un-proportionate hatred in the organization and then the wrong message follows and it creates an unhealthy grapevine. Hence it becomes empirical to standardize the level of punishments and reprisals especially when the nature of problem is the same.

Do not postpone the decision: Once the enquiry is over, and the process is at the finishing stage, it is advisable to take the decision of termination at the earliest; prolonging it may unnecessary cause trouble and give birth to rumor mongers in the company. Such rumors can play havoc and the situation could go out of hand. The rumor mill then creates many such questions which can easily be avoided if handled at the right stage.

Alacrity in valediction: Do not rush; do not jump to conclusion, just flow with the stride and let the gust settle, once things are clearer and cleaner then decide what is appropriate. Sometimes no matter how much we avoid, and demand a resignation instead of termination, I feel teaching a lesson to some becomes pragmatic. Although there are no guarantees, that the lessons are learnt with such actions, still we can always create an example for the others to not follow the same path of destruction.

Pay Severance if promised: If the word severance is mentioned in any policy and document, pay it up; because taking chances with “the woebegone employees” often results in uncalled legal tensions, when they could be evaded with elegance. What should be done is paying those employees their one or two month salary rather than redundant trips to courts which waste time.

Sensibility makes sense when we create proper measures to handle our most important assets- human resource. They need to be sent off with dignity unless of course it is not at all important. The sensibilities once shown will always be remembered by people deep down and companies will be respected for that.

So, give them a chance if you can, or show them the golden gate from where they entered the mansion of their dreams – their workplace, if they can respect it they cannot breathe inside it…J


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