HR Role in Employee Termination and Firing
No HR can escape the process of employee termination or firing. No matter how big, small or medium scale the business organization is, it is a part of a mandatory procedure that requires special attention. Letting go can never be easy. Moreover, the recent downturn in economy has accelerated the employee termination procedure, most probably because of certain financial and performance problems.
The Human Resource department plays an important role in making strategy and shaping the process. They have to keep in mind the expected potential damage the firing might bring to both the company and employee. They work hand in hand with the legal department to make sure that all actions taken go hand in hand with legal guidelines.
Employees are normally fired or terminated in extreme cases when there seems to scope for recovery. A few of them include low productivity, consistent poor performance, indiscipline, unethical behavior and discarding of company’s policy at work. These are a few of the genuine reasons. However, few organizations also entertain unethical and unacceptable terminations too. Few of the reasons include on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, basis of medical disability, religious faith, pregnancy, age etc. which at no point can be framed within legal jargons.
Thing to keep in mind before considering termination
Here are a few things you being an HR personnel should keep in mind while moving on with the proper route to the termination process.
- Evaluate employee performance as per company’s policy and procedures
- Get to the core of the poor performance like is it because of certain medical disability and so on
- Can the reason be counted in discipline issue that normally leads to termination of employment?
- Is there a lot of act of indiscipline evidences?
- Make sure if he/her is given adequate time for performance management
- Did any point of time, the employee requested for time-off?
- How many times is the indiscipline caused is recorded in the employee file?
- How many times was the warning letter send?
- Check if the employee’s performance is below the expected bar
- Make sure if the employee has been previously notified about his/her poor performance
If you have a ‘no’ for an answer, do reconsider your decision of termination. In case the answer to this is ‘yes’, no matter how difficult the procedure to be, HR needs to act professional.
How to deal with termination or firing
Here are a few tips to help to handle such situations:
- Inform the employee that since he could not adhere to the expected performance, you are left with no alternative but to terminate him immediately.
- This is important. To be empathetic is okay, but do not get swayed by emotions.
- Be firm with your decision. Do not act indecisive if the employee promises to reform.
- State the procedures that will follow like paperwork and other legal issues.
The bottom line is as HR personnel, it is your responsibility to look after company’s strategy and work for its success. When someone fails to work things out as expected either because of poor performance or ill conduct, you will have to take the harsh route and terminate the employee. You are simply fulfilling your obligations and doing the right thing. Hence no hard feelings attached!