Showing the exit cordially.
To thrive in today's increasingly competitive environment, employee skills and attitudes must be sharply aligned with the needs and goals of the employer in order to implement business objectives and priorities. Even the best-managed and most profitable businesses may at times be compelled to retrench staff. Restructuring is not a one-off exercise but is based on continuous improvement.
Termination, retrenchment, and job loss--these few words in our business vocabulary evoke much fear and anxiety. These emotions are not felt only by the persons who will lose their jobs, but also in almost equal measure by the manager responsible for delivering the notice.
From the company's standpoint, the decision to terminate an employee or group of employees is fraught with potential legal, public relations, and business consequences, as well as being possibly traumatic for the manager undertaking the termination. From a personal perspective, terminations can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating.
Is there a concept such as successful termination? Is there a way to balance the needs of the organisation and the employee? DBM's experience, in working with organisations undergoing restructuring for more than four decades, has shown that the answer is a resounding "Yes".
So what can be done to do it better? We recommend the following process to ensure you conduct terminations successfully.
Prepare the Materials
Assemble written documentation if the termination is performance related. If the termination is due to job elimination, explain the rationale. Prepare all severance information in writing: notification letter, salary continuation/severance period, benefits, outplacement counselling, and other pertinent information.
Prepare the Message
Write out the script you will use during the meeting and the information you will convey to remaining employees. Try to list two or three factual reasons for the termination. Keep everything short and to the point.
Arrange the Next Steps
Schedule additional meetings related to human resources, superannuation, and outplacement. Review what should be done with personal belongings. Specify when the employee should say "good-bye" and leave the organisation.
Prepare Yourself Emotionally
Don't assume personal responsibility for the termination: it is a business decision based on business needs. Acknowledge your anxiety and be sensitive to your feelings throughout the process.
Prepare your approach and talk about your feelings with the human resource professionals and outplacement consultants. Do not discuss your plans with your colleagues or friends. This will avoid rumours and gossip before you are ready to conduct the termination meeting.
Anticipate Employee Reactions
Role-play or practise dealing with anticipated reactions, such as shock, anger or denial. Comprehensive preparation will benefit you and the employee by providing structure and objective information that will keep you focused in the midst of a difficult meeting.
We recommend the following Do's and Don'ts for conducting the termination meetings.
To help you to prepare for the meeting, it is important to prepare for the questions you may be asked by the employees. In DBM's experience, the following questions are most frequently asked. You must be ready and able to respond professionally.
Terminating an employee or group of employees is a difficult management responsibility, accept it. Even though there is no easy way, there is a better way. It is possible to conduct a successful termination. Our experience in working worldwide with organisations undergoing restructuring has proven it can be done provided you are well prepared.
Dr Sattar Bawany is head of transition coaching practice with DBM Asia Pacific.
Do's Do invite the employee to sit down Do get right to the point Do explain the actions taken and the reasons Do listen to the employee and wait for a response Do restate the message if necessary Do use your prepared notes/guidelines Do clarify the separation date Do give an overview of the separation package Do explain the logistics for leaving the company Do provide appropriate written materials Do close the meeting within 15 minutes Do escort the employee to the next appointment Don'ts Don't say "Good Morning," "Good to see you," or "How are you?" Don't engage in small talk Don't use humour Don't be apologetic Don't defend, justify or argue Don't threaten Don't sympathise Don't try to minimise the situation Don't make promises Don't personalise the anger Don't use platitudes like "I know how you feel," or "You will be just fine". Question Suggested Response Why was I selected? The selection was based on a Who made the final decision? number of factors, including individual job skills, work experience, organisational needs, tenure, and performance. These decisions are always difficult, but they were reviewed and approved by management. What recourse do I have? Employees are always free to talk with a higher level of management. However, because management has already carefully reviewed the decision, it is unlikely that the outcome will change. Can I continue to work for a No. We feel it is in your best period of time? interest and the organisation's that you utilise your time exploring employment opportunities outside the company. That is also why we have brought in an outplacement firm to assist you in preparing for your job search. Can I be re-hired? You are eligible for re-hire. However, the probability of that is unlikely. That is why you should concentrate your efforts on finding employment outside the company. I want to talk with Mr/Ms X Of course you are free to make an (for example, the manager's appointment to see him/her, but I boss). must tell you that he/she is fully aware of the decision and supports it. I can't understand why I can't Before this decision was made, be considered for something else? every effort was made to explore other options. How can you do this to me after The reorganisation was necessary so many years of service? for business reasons.
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|Article Type:||Cover story|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2009|
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