Archive for the How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone Category

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 7)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipAs we finish out this blog series, let’s do a quick review and then a few closing thoughts.
Part 1. Feedback – Keep it real. Keep it honest. Don’t make a termination a surprise.
Part 1. Written Warning – Document everything. Issue warnings with deadlines.
Part 2. Be Specific – Make sure there nothing left to interpretation. Be very clear.
Part 2. Not on Fridays – Best to not fire on Fridays. It may clear your conscience, but leave them stewing for two days. Do it early in the week.
Part 3. Cut to the Chase – We know this isn’t easy, but don’t stall. Make the dreaded meeting brief and to the point. Let the employee know “it’s for cause.” And have a witness.
Part 4. You’re Out – Have everything planned in advance so that once you’ve the let the employee go…they go. Take their personal property and call it an experience. Careful allow anyone continued access to company files (on and offline). And collect company stuff (keys, phones, laptops, etc.)
Part 5. Get it in Writing – Have them sign a release of liability.
Part 6. Who’s Doing What – Reassign Responsibilities – Figure it out a head of time. Who’s going to take on the now unassigned responsibilities?
Part 6. Staff Meeting – Call the team together. Give them an update and reassurance that all is well. Prevent rumors from getting started.

A good teamThe two most important things to remember are, (1) “Hire slow, fire fast, and (2) Do the what’s right for you and your company. When you take your time, let a poor performer stay on staff, it sends a terrible message to your team. Set the bar high, lead by example, give clear expectations, be honest and you’ll put together a great team. Might take some time, a few changes here and there, but it’ll happen. And when you have to let someone go…reread my blog.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 6)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipTake a breath and let it out slowly. The fired employee has now left the building. But your work isn’t done.

Who’s Doing What – Reassign Responsibilities
Reassign responsibilitiesIf you haven’t already given this some thought, you better get on it. Personally, I would recommend making the decision as to who will be handling the responsibilities of the person you just fired, before you fire them. Sometimes it’s an easy one, but when it comes to high level management responsibilities, it might require more thought. First of all, will that person be replaced at all? If not, and others will be asked to pick up the slack, will you be compensating them for that? What’s your plan? The termination of a manager can raise eyebrows and concerns within the team. More work without pay or incentives can create challenges for an owner. If it’s a short term fix, it shouldn’t be a problem. If it’s a long term one, you need to think it through. As I’ve written in the past, it’s so important to take care of your staff, especially those you want to keep.

Staff Meeting
Staff meetingRight after the termination, call everyone together. Without going into details, let them know what’s happened. It’s always best to cut off the rumors before they start…or before the ex-employee calls everyone. This is a good time to reassign the responsibilities, answer questions and ease any concerns.

One final blog on this tomorrow – we’ll call it a summary and a some words of wisdom. And now, back to work.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 5)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipWe’ve covered quite a few details along our uncomfortable path that leads to the termination of an employee. As long as your reasons are valid, you can’t beat yourself up too much. As we’ve mentioned previously, provide honest feedback and written warnings that are very specific. Don’t make it a painful surprise, if you can avoid it. That brief-and-to-the-point meeting is coming to an end, but unfortunately, the employee hasn’t left the building just yet. One more important task to complete.

Get it in writing
Signing a releaseBefore your soon-to-be former employee leaves their exit interview, I recommend you have them sign a release of liability. If you have an attorney, I’d get one drafted up. It’s fairly boilerplate. You can probably find one on the Internet, if you have to. Some employees may be reluctant to sign it, not because they’re planning to sue you (hopefully that’s not the case), but because they don’t understand it. Do your best to explain the document. If necessary, encourage them to have it read by their attorney. You can also offer an incentive to sign it – perhaps an extra week of severance pay. Again, check with your lawyer to see what you can and can’t do. As I’ve mentioned before, better safe than sorry.

Protect your businessBottom line here – Cover your…you know what. When an employee is fired, there are so many things that can go wrong. Document everything, have a witness during the meeting and get the release signed. Protect yourself and your company.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a
consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 4)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipAs a business owner, manager or supervisor, few responsibilities are tougher to carry out than firing someone. Make sure you read all parts of this series. I can assure you, taking the necessary steps will make this easier…for both of you.

You’re out!
You're outThis might seem a bit harsh, but in most situations, I recommend the following:
1. Unless it’s in the best interest of the company to keep the employee around, I suggest you have that person leave immediately.
2. Allow them to return to their desk and pick up their personal items. If you do this with everyone you fire, then no one will think they’ve been singled out. Make it policy.
3. If there’s a concern that company property will be stolen, make sure the employee is watched until they’re done, and then escorted out. You certainly don’t want to give the disgruntled employee, the one who feels that the firing was unjustified, an opportunity to sabotage your I.T. system, or steal files or passwords. Even the most honest person might find the company’s staplers are too hard to resist.
Personal property4. If there a serious security risk, have the employee’s access to computer files and email shut off while you’re in your meeting. Better safe than sorry.
5. Make sure you collect all company owned property – keys, laptops, cell phones, credit cards, etc. Once they’re gone, good luck getting the smaller items back. If they don’t have the credit card with them, make sure it’s canceled immediately. I’ll assume you know why.

All common sense. All easily forgotten. Remember, take time when hiring, not when firing.

If you have any questions or comments, or interested in a consultation,
please write below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 3)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipThis is not the most enjoyable subject to discuss, but a necessary one. Many of us have had to fire others or have been fired ourselves. It’s never a very pleasant experience. All the more reason to do it correctly.

Cut to the chase
FiredIf you’ve done what I recommended in Parts 1 & 2, you’ll be able to make this step relatively brief. Be ready, certain and strong…cause it might get ugly. Sometimes it will be yelling and sometime tears. So don’t allow yourself to get caught up in avtsunami of emotions. As I mentioned before, have another manager in the room with you. You never know what’s going to go down. Document exactly what is said, in case you run into problems later. Truthfully, if you’ve laid out the expectation, given honest reviews, and the employee failed to meet the requirements, then a termination won’t come as a surprise.

Fired 21. Make it quick. Plan out the details – will there be severance pay, when’s the last day or shift, returning company property, insurance concerns, vacation payout, conclusion of benefits, what will be said if there are future inquiries (careful what you say here), etc.
2. Let the employee know “it’s for cause.” They should already know that they fell short of what was detailed in the performance review and had this coming. Again, don’t waiver once you’ve made the decision.

Pretty simple stuff, when you take the emotions out of it. Not easy to do though.

If you have any questions or comments, or interested in a consultation,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 2)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipIn Part 1, I covered giving honest feedback and written warnings. Most importantly, document everything! So in our quest for as pain free a termination as possible, we continue with the specifics.

Be Specific
Be specificWritten warnings are an absolute essential. Being specific is equally so. Like I said before, “no surprises.” If you tell your employee that they’re “not doing well”, that doesn’t really give them much information and nothing specific to improve upon. Provide details. And, if you’d prefer to keep the employee if they could improve, then give them the tools to do so. If they’re failing at whatever it was that you hired them to do, then you might not have trained them very well or you hired the wrong candidate. Either way, you can’t cry over spilled milk. Make it right now. “Improve in these specific areas…or you’re out in 30 days.” You can use your own words.

Not on Fridays
You're firedI’ve never liked letting someone go on a Friday. Let them enjoy the weekend…instead of wallowing in gloom…plotting their revenge. I’m just kidding…but you never know. Seriously though, start the week off cleanly, and take care of business. If they’re not improving and the deadline has arrived, do what you need to do. If you do see a positive change, maybe you need to extend the deadline and allow them more time to continue becoming the employee you need. That’s your call. Remember, be honest to them and to yourself. Cut the ties, if that’s what’s necessary.

Lead when they need direction and mentor when they need to learn. Fire them when neither works.

If you have any questions or comments, or interested in a consultation,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 1)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , on September 8, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slip “You do it.” “No, you do it.” If you’ve ever had the unenviable job of firing someone, you know what I’m talking about. It’s not easy taking away someone’s source of income. But you’ve got to keep in mind that it’s usually for the good of the company. Without naming names, I managed a company that, in the year before I started, went through more than 800 employees to fill 100 positions. I was able to reduce that number significantly, but that was the culture of the company, and there was no changing it. Churn and burn. There was only so much I could do. Talk about stressful.

Here are some tips on what you need to consider when the time comes to let an employee go…and not find yourself in a lawsuit. No promises, of course. This pertains to those who are at-will, and not under contract.

Feedback
Employee feedback“No surprises.” That’s always been my motto when it comes to firing an employee. If you’ve been consistently giving someone stellar reviews, raises and bonuses…you are definitely going to blindside them. Plain and simply, that is unacceptable. Of course, in this economic climate, downsizing has become common at all levels. Even the good ones, if they’re not bringing in revenue and easily placed elsewhere in the company, become an operating expense that all too often can no longer be afforded. Trust me, I’ve been on the wrong end of that scenario.

Written Warning
Performance reviewsSo back to the employee that you’ve been praising, in spite of a weak performance or one that’s declined over time – Do not let them go immediately. Give them an unscheduled performance review, and be honest. Call them into your office and discuss the situation. Maybe you can turn them around. Maybe not. Either way, you’ve got to document the poor performance. Give them a deadline for improvement. In no uncertain terms, make it clear that unless the changes are significant, they will be terminated. And call me paranoid, but always have a witness (another manager) in the room during reviews. I never want to be in a “your-word vs. their word” debate. That will get ugly.

Bottom line: Praise only when they deserve it, discipline when necessary, document everything, and let ’em go when they’re detrimental to the business.

If you have any questions or comments, or interested in a consultation,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.