At least two people are uncomfortable in terminations and layoffs. Certainly, the employee feels stressed. That’s true for the boss, too, assuming she or he has a conscience. After all, it’s a very arduous event. If multiple employees are laid off, it’s really strenuous and tiring for the employer.

Assuming as a boss you’ve been diligent in evaluating your employees and the welfare of your company, there are normally three reasons for a termination. They include poor performance, unproductive behavior and insufficient profits.

But the termination process doesn’t have to be a rancorous occurrence in meeting standards for employer responsibility.

Keep in mind that if you’re forced to terminate workers, there are normally three questions to ask yourself:

1. “Am I following all applicable laws?”

Make sure you’re aware of your obligations in your region. State officials often require notification. So do union agreements.

You should be diligent in your human resources paper trail before terminations. That should include progressive discipline and counseling.

Be careful in what you do, say and write. If there’s any doubt, check with an expert. Actually, it’s a good idea to do it anyway.

2. “Am I acting on facts and irrefutable information?”

Make sure you’ve dotted every “i” and every “t” in your paperwork. Take and use copious notes.

Don’t allow yourself to be embarrassed from poor human resources practices. Document poor sales, customer service complaints or harassment of co-workers.

Employees are entitled to know the answers to three questions:

  • What’s expected of me?
  • How am I doing?
  • What’s in it for me?

Make sure each employee gets equal, objective treatment. Don’t allow your behavior to become less than polite.

3. “Am I fair and compassionate?”

In a nutshell, remember the Golden Rule. Treat employees as you would like to be treated in a termination by a world-class employer. Again, if an employee is not expecting to be terminated, remember the fault does not entirely lie with the worker. It’s your fault if you have not been diligent in communication as a supervisor.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for related reading:

Why Companies Fall into the Management Lawsuit Trap — News headlines continue to show there are a myriad of ways managers set themselves for lawsuits. Small and many big companies are ripe for EEOC complaints.

10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints — Despite all the court cases, warnings and complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC complaints are a nightmare for management.

Management: 7 Tips for Success if You Must Layoff Employees — In an uncertain economy, businesses typically make two short-sighted errors. They slash the workforce and marketing investments. To the contrary, it’s important to place a maximum value on your human capital and avoid layoffs, and to expand marketing. At the first sign of a business downturn – before laying-off workers – try these options.

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations— How should you properly evaluate employees? Make sure you are careful to avoid errors in evaluations.

Otherwise, for employees, job-hunting, and bosses, here are other numerous HR strategies.

“The soft stuff is always harder than the hard stuff.”

-Roger Enrico


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.