How to Safely and Gracefully Handle Employee Terminations

Nobody wants to do it, but occasionally terminating employees is part of the job for a small business owner. Use these five tips to help make your next termination situation go as smoothly as possible.

No one wants to terminate an employee. They may have worked for you for a long time and feel like a member of the family, or they may be new but just didn’t work out. The termination may be due to their performance or other issues such as budgets, or maybe you are cutting back during the pandemic. No matter the reason, it is a stressful situation for both you and for the employee. The reasons for the termination will vary but the act of the termination and how you handle it will go a long way to insuring a safe and easy transition for everyone involved. 

In my security practice, I have been brought in to assist in many employee terminations including coming in as armed protection for the business. Here are some tips I have garnered during these experiences that may help you in the event you have to terminate an employee:

Termination Tip No. 1: Remain Respectful
Respect the employee and remember they are people with feelings. Help them to maintain their dignity. Treat them fairly and respectfully. Constantly assess the person’s emotional status throughout the process. Are there changes? Are there signs? If you detect or anticipate any issues, call in additional help.

Termination Tip No. 2: Plan Ahead
If there is due cause for the dismissal, the employee should have received warnings and therefore the dismissal should not come as a surprise. Plan for how you will notify the employee and how you will conduct the termination. Never surprise them. 

RELATED: How to fire someone and not get sued.

Termination Tip No. 3: Document, Document, Document 
Be sure to document all of the events and communications surrounding a termination. This should include (but not be limited to) the dates, times and topics of disciplinary conversations; the warnings given; and examples of performance issues. If it is a budget issue or the pandemic causing you to cut back, tell them. This protects you as well as helps the employee to understand the issues that led to their termination.

Termination Tip No. 4: Secure the Situation
Involve your security department or consider bringing in an outside security department if necessary. This step will help in reducing any workplace risk and averting any potential workplace violence or shooting incidences, especially if the employee has a history of violence or has proved to be threatening in any way. Research has proven the first seconds and minutes before law enforcement arrives on scene are the most critical. Remember that the situation may not stop at the front door of the building. The danger can come from what is in the employee’s car or even the car itself can be used as a weapon. 

RELATED: Read more from Tim Dimoff.

Termination Tip No. 5: Safety is Key
Safety is important and needs to take precedence during a termination. Try to have someone watching while an employee while they clean out their desk. If they seem too upset to drive, call a car to drive them home. 

Nothing can guarantee complete security but taking these steps will help to avert a potential confrontation or even a violent situation.

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

 
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  • Next up: How to Successfully Manage Teleworking During the Pandemic
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  • How to Successfully Manage Teleworking During the Pandemic

    Telecommuting is the way of the world right now. Here are nine tips to effectively manage a teleworking policy.

     

    We are nearing the end of 2020 and there is still no end in sight to the pandemic. As a result of this, you may have already had employees working from home. You may still continue this practice or you may decide that you want to utilize teleworkers. While this is a good way to keep everyone safe, it does bring new problems and potential stress with it. 

    For telecommuting to be successful, it requires everyone to be flexible and, as a result, you may need to adapt new business practices. Teleworking can be productive if your company takes the time and proper steps to review and update your existing policies or to craft temporary new ones.  

    Here are nine tips that may help you to successfully manage a teleworking policy:

    Telecommuting tip no. 1: Establish eligibility and create procedures.
    Create a telecommuting policy that defines who is eligible to work remotely, whether it’s companywide or based on job role and performance. Make sure you clearly define which employees are eligible for teleworking, the duration of expected telework project and any specifics such as who provides any equipment, etc. Also define the responsibilities of both the employee and yours as the employer. Make sure you specify that as the employer, you retain the right to make changes at any time.

    Telecommuting tip no. 2: Create an agreement.
    Have employees agree upon and sign a policy that outlines the specific requirements of working from home. This is an important step to help manage communications and expectations.  Include items such as the frequency and method of communication from employees, specific expectations regarding required daily or weekly phone calls or other methods of communications with supervisors, etc., how hours will be recorded, what technology or equipment the employer will provide, what reasonable work expenses are reimbursable for telework needs and contact information for any questions regarding these telework requirements.

    RELATED: Five tips to make working from home work for you.

    Telecommuting tip no. 3: Utilize existing policies to help make it work.
    Your written policy should emphasize that employees must continue to abide by all pre-existing workplace policies while teleworking and that failure to follow the existing policies while teleworking may result in disciplinary action, including possible termination of the telecommuting arrangement. Be sure to enforce the policies equally to everyone to avoid any discrimination issues relating to gender, race, etc.  

    Telecommuting tip no. 4: Set up a trial.
    It might be a good idea to set up a trial period of a few months to see if teleworking fits your business and your employees. This will give you time to see if your employees can adapt to working from home. 

    Telecommuting tip no. 5: Beef up security.
    Teleworking demands excellent cybersecurity. Have your employees install security software, and password protect any devices they will be using to access confidential company data. If remote working is not already a standard practice at your company, it is important to adopt policies dealing with issues such as network security, protection of company confidential information and timekeeping. This should include dealing with practical concerns, such as prohibiting employees from working out of coffee shops and who else has access to any equipment, etc. 

    Telecommuting tip no. 6: Define hours, days and other working issues. 
    It will help everyone if you can keep working hours consistent. Clearly define the times that employees are expected to be working and to be online so co-workers and clients are aware of their availability.

    Telecommuting tip no. 7: Encourage daily updates.
    Regular video chats or status calls will help keep your employees on task, while setting goals and deadlines with colleagues. It will also provide you with peace of mind that your workers are being productive. 

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    Telecommuting tip no. 8: Evaluate performance.
    It is also important to keep track of teleworking employees’ hours and performance and to make adjustments if you find they’re not abiding by your agreement.

    Telecommuting tip no. 9: Reinforce privacy policies.
    Remind your employees that HIPAA and data protection laws still apply wherever they are working. 

    As an employer, if you develop and support teleworking efforts and review, revise or create applicable policies that ensure your employees are complying with your business’s needs during the crisis, you and your employees will most likely have a successful teleworking experience.

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security Expert Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com

     
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  • Next up: How Twitter Reacted to the 2016 CIO Symposium
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  • How Twitter Reacted to the 2016 CIO Symposium

    Roughly 200 IT leaders from across Northeast Ohio gathered last week to discuss the major issues impacting the local tech scene as part of the 2016 CIO Symposium. Topics ranged from talent, to data science, to leadership lessons from a former astronaut.

    Roughly 200 IT leaders from across Northeast Ohio gathered last week to discuss the major issues impacting the local tech scene as part of the 2016 CIO Symposium. Topics ranged from talent, to data science, to leadership lessons from a former astronaut.

    Attendees were quick to go to Twitter (this was a technology conference after all) to give their take on the symposium’s major themes. Below is a sampling of the Twitter reactions from the 2016 CIO Symposium.

     

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  • Next up: How Videos are Changing the Way We do Business
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  • How Videos are Changing the Way We do Business

    In the old days, we took 16 mm or Super 8 mm movies and edited film deep into the night. We produced case studies and product demonstrations often without sound. We thought that was cool. That was the 1970’s.

    In the old days, we took 16 mm or Super 8 mm movies and edited film deep into the night. We produced case studies and product demonstrations often without sound. We thought that was cool. That was the 1970’s.

    Today, every phone and SLR camera brings us as close to a Hollywood production as the common man might ever be. So, what we are observing in our businesses today has changed because video is everywhere.

    Following are 12 ways video is changing the way we do business.

    E-learning. Videos can be created to teach students of all ages those skills that are difficult to develop from printed pages or PDFs alone. When programming testing is possible, new software makes e-learning simple.

    White videos. So, you don’t have time to write a white paper? Talk to us through video. It works. It saves time. It may even be less expensive than other approaches.

    Reputation Management. Videos tell you what your body language says about you. That is part of your reputation. But why not find out from important publics what they think about you and your organization by getting them on video?

    Product Demonstration. Whether it’s a mommy blogger or an individual market influencer, a product demonstration remains as effective as they are. When it is difficult to demonstrate, videos are the next best thing.

    Facebook Live. The new thing in social media is Facebook Live. Your videos tell your followers what they need to know in real time. It is great for customer, patient and community testimonials.

    Crisis. Videos can capture wrongdoing by striking groups, clearing up misconceptions, set the record straight, tell key publics how you will be meeting—or exceeding expectations.  

    YouTube Channel. Your YouTube Channel can capture the kind of organization you are, what you stand for and why you deserve to be respected. Your best “TV commercials” should be on YouTube.

    Competitive Espionage. Your videos can tell a story about your customers, help you as a mystery shopper, capture focus group thinking on camera and discover why a new product is dominating at a trade show.

    Easily Updated. So, you think your current video is stale. For the most part, videos are easily updated. B-roll, photos and new point-of-view video makes the old new again.

    Upgrading your brand. When produced effectively, your brand can be elevated to a place you could have never achieved before. Using a high-powered talent can make the difference in terms of the way you or your organization are perceived.

    Virality. You want the world to know your organization. When Blendtec used their blender to “blend” cell phones and more, the world knew. Think of creative ways to market your product or business.

    Simplifying Instructions. Those teaching manuals are tough to follow. The more expensive new equipment is, the more important a video can be. It ensures you know what you are doing step by step.

    Are you convinced? Videos are changing the way we do business today. Send me your thoughts about the subject. I would love to hear from you. 

    Want more great insight like this? Check out COSE’s Expert Network for experts who can help you on a wide range of topics, including technology and strategic planning. 

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  • Next up: The Importance of Training Employees During This Pandemic
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  • The Importance of Training Employees During This Pandemic

    It might be tempting to cut corners at a time like this to save your business money. But one area where you should not skimp is on employee training. Read on about the importance of keeping your employees properly trained to handle the specific circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

     

    This pandemic is challenging for all of us, but especially for small businesses. If you are open, you have new costs for cleaning supplies and other items in order to stay open. But you also may have less business so your bottom line is suffering. 

    Your first reaction may be to cut costs elsewhere. I want to clearly stress that while keeping costs in line is extremely important, there is one critical area where you should not cut costs and that is in your employee training. During this especially stressful time when there are political issues, safety issues and people are experiencing COVID fatigue, there is a reasonable chance that you or your employees may encounter a workplace situation that calls for knowing how to properly handle and diffuse the situation.

    We’ve all seen the videos of people pushing employees or customers, people assaulting people, spitting or coughing on people and other acts of violence from customers and even co-workers. Training your employees to know how to detect and diffuse the situation can possibly mean avoiding both safety, health and/or legal repercussions that might arise if the situation is not handled properly. Spending money to train your employees to understand the importance of empathy and how to apply it in a difficult situation can go a long way to diffusing a hot or crazy client, co-worker or customer. It may prove to be one of the most important investments you can make. If you don’t know where to go for help in this, there are many companies such as mine that offer employee training in how to diffuse an aggressive situation. 

    When dealing with difficult situations remember that perspective makes the conflict. The way in which we view and address the person and the situation is key to understanding and to diffusing a difficult situation. Learning how to do this is best accomplished thru specific training that can teach you physical and verbal indicators, how to be responsive and not reactive and much more.

    In the interim, here are a few tips that may help:

    • Observe the person’s body language—this can help determine their level of anger.
    • Keep your body language non-aggressive in appearance.
    • Attempt to sincerely address the other person’s concern.
    • Do not ever confront an angry person.
    • Practice active listening and show empathy.
    • Don’t take it personally—it’s not about you, it’s about the situation.
    • Maintain your sense of humor—it can go a long way to diffusing a situation.
    • Try to find common ground.
    • Apologize sincerely—let them know you really mean it. 

    Conflict in life is inevitable, especially right now. Knowing how to minimize drama and de-escalate conflicts as quickly as possible is an investment in your business and in keeping everyone safe.

    Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com

     
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  • Next up: Improve Your Lead Generation with Interactive Content Marketing
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  • Improve Your Lead Generation with Interactive Content Marketing

    Content marketing is all the rage these days, but many people are simply littering the Internet with text, infographics and lists that are either just skimmed over or completely ignored. Gone are the days where writing general, broad or vague material can impact an audience. The future is engaging users with immersive, interactive content. 

    Content marketing is all the rage these days, but many people are simply littering the Internet with text, infographics and lists that are either just skimmed over or completely ignored. Gone are the days where writing general, broad or vague material can impact an audience. The future is engaging users with immersive, interactive content.

    Some examples of interactive tools are product configurators or calculators. A marketing budget calculator is a way for you to provide information or solutions to customers in highly personalized and engaging ways. Compare the experience of using this calculator to just reading a boring article about how to set a marketing budget. Most people just skim headlines anyways. An interactive tool gives them something to do. Learn how to go big and get better leads.


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