In This Episode
No matter how long you’ve been in business or how many times you’ve done it, firing an employee never gets easy. In fact, we have found that short of outright theft, most small business owners will do just about anything to delay firing someone. Even when they know logically that it makes sense to fire someone. The very real emotions of the thing can often get in the way.
In tonight’s episode we don’t focus on how do you determine whether or not you should fire someone. That includes things like lists of pros & cons, annual and quarterly reviews, etc. Instead, we focused tonight on how do you actually do it. What does the event look and sound like? What message do you deliver to the individual and the rest of the team? How long do you allow for a transition? Do you allow the person time to find another job or do you escort them out at the end of the day (or something in between)? Who is going to pick up the tasks this person was doing (short-term and long-term)? Should you offer a severance package, and if so, how much? Don’t even get us started on all the HR stuff for what should you be documenting to protect yourself and your company in case you get sued!
The answers can be very different to each of these questions depending which category the employee falls under. For example, is the person:
- Family: these involve the strongest bonds/emotions/relationships and you will likely have to see this person again (e.g. family get togethers, holidays)
- Long-Term Employee: these often involve tremendous bonds built over years or decades where you know them and their families pretty well and you may even be friends with this person, but unlike family, you will likely not see this person again after they are terminated.
- Short-Term Employee: while this may seem like the easiest one since you haven’t had the chance to form significant bonds with this person yet, this is the case where you might find yourself being the most introspective and applying blame to yourself. You will likely ask yourself if you could have helped this individual more or managed them better or put them in a better situation to succeed.
No matter what the situation, it’s not easy when it comes to firing someone, especially in a small business where people aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet. Much of the guidance you’ll find out there is geared toward bigger companies and we know small business is a bit different and typically more humane (and human). Take a listen to tonight’s show as we shared several different client stories that fall into each of the above categories. We’re sure at least one will relate to your current situation or one you’ve been in before.
People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show
- Entrepreneur Magazine (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/166644)
- Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2016/02/the-right-way-to-fire-someone)
- Performance Improvement Plans (https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/how-to-guides/pages/performanceimprovementplan.aspx)
- Jim Collins Good To Great (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_to_Great)
- Goodfellas (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/)
- Inglourious Basterds (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/)
- Office Space and Milton and his red stapler (http://nowiknow.com/the-stapler/)
- An Officer and a Gentleman and Richard Gere (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Officer_and_a_Gentleman)
- Gladys Knight and the Pips (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Knight_%26_the_Pips)