Article: 7 Questions to ask before firing an employee

#TeamAlignment

7 Questions to ask before firing an employee

Before signing that pink slip for an employee, here are a few questions you should answer to make the process less daunting.
7 Questions to ask before firing an employee

Downsizing a company is an important step towards increasing efficiency, improving performance and revitalizing a workforce, but every time you fire someone, use it as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes and improvise.

Hiring and firing are two indispensable processes in an organization, but before terminating an employee, every employer must introspect if firing is necessary. So, before signing that pink slip for an employee, here are a few questions you should answer to make the process less daunting.

1)    What are the alternatives to termination?

This is the elementary question which entails a root cause analysis of the ultimate decision to let an employee go. Employers must consider if the employee can make improvements through performance improvement plan, training, mentor programs, job coaching, or even just counseling sessions. If compromise of ethics or discipline is the reason for termination, then appropriate remedial actions can be taken.

2)    Was ample time and opportunity provided to improve?

It is obligatory for employers to give ample time, directions and opportunities to their staff members to work on their shortcomings. A performance improvement plan that clearly lays out the expectations and goals for the employee is a great step to let them know that you care about their prospects of keeping their jobs and being associated with the organization.

3)    Is this a case of skills mismatch or skill inadequacy?

Chances are that the team member is aware of the job expectations, but s/he isn’t suited for that job in particular; and may perform well in some other role. Or sometimes, the employee isn’t trained well, nor has the necessary skill to perform the job in question. In such cases, employers should ensure to provide the right tools and training to help team members improve. Further, doing a mapping of a person’s skills and abilities to the demands of the job is a great step.

4)    Is the hiring process to blame?

Sometimes, it’s not the person that’s at fault but the internal hiring process that is recruiting in haste. It’s important for a manager to question: how did a bad hiring happen and how can it be prevented from happening again? S/he should take a closer look at the hiring practices and revamp the process of picking candidates. Rather than just looking at their talents and skills, it’s important to make improvements in selection methodologies by analyzing their culture fitment or personality attributes.

“As a manager, you should introspect whether your personal emotions are affecting your professional judgment to terminate a worker. Is your personal dislike of the employee or a tiff in the past contributing to the decision of terminating him/her?  If that’s the case, then it’s not professional and doesn’t set the right precedent for your workplace.”

5)    Will firing this employee affect others?

Before firing someone, a manager must consider the kind of personal or professional relationships the employee has maintained at the workplace. If he has great rapport or clout among his co-workers, then cutting him out will have a serious ripple effect. So, you should consider how firing this individual will fare with the rest of the colleagues.  Will his/her termination lead to a disrupted workflow, increased workload, or hurt the feelings of the co-workers. 

6)    Can they succeed elsewhere?

If your organization has a rigorous hiring process, then it’s safe to say that the individual must have displayed some merit; otherwise, they wouldn’t have bagged the job. Perhaps, this may be a case of a right person being matched for the wrong job. So, you can consider transferring them to a department that is aligned with their skills or give them a different position before giving them the pink slip.

7)    Are personal interests involved?

Sometimes, it’s important to prune the company of negative elements to stop them from ruining the general positivity in the workplace. However, as a manager, you should introspect whether your personal emotions are affecting your professional judgment to terminate a worker. Is your personal dislike of the employee or a tiff in the past contributing to the decision of terminating him/her?  If that’s the case, then it’s not professional and doesn’t set the right precedent for your workplace.

Handing the pink slip to an employee is definitely overwhelming, considering how hard it is for the fired employee. But sometimes, it’s just the best way for both the employee and employer to grow in the right direction.


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Topics: #TeamAlignment, Talent Management, Employee Relations

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