Safe Employment Terminations Tips
Many disruptive or even violent terminations could have been avoided if managers had said and done the right things. Here are ten steps to reduce the risk of violence and increase safety for you and your employees during a termination.
Pause before rushing into a termination.
Address the immediate safety concerns by evaluating and eliminating the risks as much as possible. Put in your due diligence to stabilize and manage known high-risk terminations. If you are in doubt about the risk, hire an experienced outside consultant.
The more dangerous the termination the more fluid the situation. Make sure to consider all the possibilities and carefully plan every step of the process.
Choose a neutral environment for the termination such as a conference room. The room should have lots of windows, be closest to the entrance, and have minimal furniture.
Create a safe environment. Clear the table or desks of any objects that could be used as weapons including pens and pencils and similar objects.
Only one person should actively communicate the termination. Have a second person present in the room when handling the termination, NOT as a participant, but as a witness and to provide assistance if necessary. The second person should be of the same gender as the person being terminated if possible. Have this second person sit out of the terminee’s line of sight so as not to be a distraction.
Don’t allow the situation to become personal. Where possible, emphasize that the termination is about the position, not the person.
Control your emotions. Remain as neutral as possible and focus on the situation, not the person.
Ensure that all company property has been retrieved and that the employee’s property is being packed and inventoried. The employee should be given his/her personal belongings at the completion of the termination, and then must sign for them. Ex-employees should not be allowed to return to their work areas after termination.
- Separate completely. Any termination process with a high risk individual should strive for a complete separation in which there is no opportunity to reestablish a relationship with the company.