6 Effective Tips to making “employment termination” less heartbreaking

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In the process of hiring new team members, there will always be times that we commit lapses – meaning, we hire the wrong people. Thus, there are those who make the cut but eventually get cut.

As a Human Resource Development practitioner,  one of the important aspects of effectively managing people is one’s ability to relay the phrase – “you are fired” with less drama, less heartbreak.

I consider it an achievement being able to deliver bad news and at the same time helping the receiver look at the brighter side of the message.

Here are some tips that I can share to my fellow HR practitioners:

  1. Give the news personally and directly – There are several channels of communication, but the most effective channel to breaking down this kind of news is through a face to face meeting.  In this way, you will immediately know your employee’s reaction and be able to address it right away.

Na-imagine mo ba na makatanggap ng text message na ang laman ay tinatanggal ka sa trabaho?  Nakamamatay yan.  What if your employee received that message while crossing the pedestrian lane? What if na-shock siya, hindi nakagalaw, at nasagasaan? Dagdag kunsensiya mo pa. So better relay the message ng harap harapan.

Also, you must do it directly para hindi mukhang chismis.  Hindi pwede yung i-teterminate mo si Ana pero bago pa malaman ni Ana e alam na ni Mila dahil idinaan mo sa kanya. Diba?

2. Balance the content – One technique in balancing the content is to apply the “sandwich approach”.

This means that you say good things first about his or her performance (dapat sincere ka naman dito).  After affirming the person, carefully move to the more sensitive information, the fact that he or she committed something and that it is a ground for termination, then assure him or her that it is not the person but it is the act (kasi ganun naman talaga, walang personalan, trabaho lang).

Example:

Employer:  You know, you are a good employee etc etc. I have not heard anything bad about you. However, there is this instance that we would need some explanation. (Tell him or her the facts) Would you want to say something about it?

Employee:  Explain, explain, explain.

Employer:  Ok, thank you for giving your side on the matter.  We will use this in crafting our decision.  We are however, giving you 5 days to explain this in writing. While preparing your written explanation, please remember that this is not about you, but it is about what happened. Ok? 

Employee: Thanks. 

Don’t immediately condemn the employee.  Everybody commits mistakes and this might just be another hump in their careers.

3. Be specific – How will the employee know the specific violation he or she committed if you speak in general?  Dapat sabihin mo kung ano talaga yung violation niya complete with details e.g. incident report by a witness, cctv footage, and other available evidence.

This will avoid unnecessary debate kasi kitang kita na kung sino nagkamali.  This has saved me a lot of energy debating with employees who have the tendency to deny to death.

4. Give feedback when the receiver is most ready to accept it – there is no better timing than immediately after the incident happened.

Nawawalan ng halaga ang mensahe mo kung ang pangyayari ay nangyari ngayong araw pero next month mo pa ina-address. This only means na you are just trying to find ways to get rid of your employee at hindi maganda yan.  Siguradong pagdududahan ka rin kapag nagsampa ng illegal dismissal ang empleyado mo.

5. Be accurate; validate your information. – Before you even relay the message, gather facts and investigate.  Mahirap ang magkamali.

Can you imagine breaking a news that would possibly change someone else’s life tapos mali mali pala ang facts mo?  There might be legal implications so better get your facts straight before you present it to the person being terminated.

6. Offer Continuing support – Most of my termination meetings, thankfully, end in a good note and I enjoy the fact that we all remain friends.  To maintain relationship, assure them that you care for them and that everything happens for a reason. 🙂

Siyempre, the tips above won’t suffice if you don’t follow the legal process. May sinasabi tayong 2 notice rule sa Labor Law but that will be covered in another topic.

In order to be guided in legally terminating erring employees, it will be best to consult your lawyer.

Photo Credit: http://www.pistonandfusion.org/blog/warning-signs-fired/

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About the Author:

Dexter D. Diwas is the co-founder of Bright Hope Room for Growth Inc., a premiere Kindergarten School in the City of Baguio, Philippines.  He is a lawyer who is passionate about Business, Human Resource Development, and Career Advising. He is currently taking up Master of Management at the Institute of Management, University of the Philippines – Baguio.  

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