Do you own your own business? If so, you know how hard it is to let an employee go, especially if the reason has nothing to do with their performance. Recently, another round of Xerox layoffs made headlines. This is the most recent wave of layoffs, the third of its kind in a seemingly never-ending termination process for the company. As you can imagine, Xerox is not a company with any growth potential, their days on top are long behind them, making termination the only option for the two descendant companies to stay in business. However, these Xerox layoffs give us a good opportunity to discuss termination procedures for business. If you are looking for some guidance on the best practices for letting employees go, this post will enlighten you. Here are some of the most important factors to successfully let an employee go with dignity.
Before we even get to the proper techniques for letting an employee go, it is important to remember the basics. In order to fire someone, you need to have the grounds to do so. Constantly coaching your employees to increase their range of abilities and give them the tools to move up in the business is vital to a happy, productive workplace. It also gives you frequent opportunities to measure their progress and take notes on their performance. If you are able to see quantitatively the time you put into their development and their lack of improvement, it not only makes letting them go weigh a bit less heavily on your conscience, but also gives you hard proof to discuss with them in their termination meeting. These Xerox layoffs did not come about due to poor employee performance, but it is no less important for you to understand the proper foundation for terminating an employee with respect.
Location, Location, Location
When it comes to firing someone, it is best to do it in a neutral location. Despite what you may see in movies, calling an employee into your office to let them go is not the best practice. Choosing a neutral ground will help the employee in question to feel like they are on level ground. You do not want to put yourself further into the position of power, you are already doing it in the act of firing them. In order to let your employees go with dignity, it is vital to level the playing field a bit. It should go without saying, you should also make sure this location offers the utmost privacy possible. There is no telling how an employee will react when they receive the news, even if you do everything right. A private space allows them the opportunity to collect themselves before facing their (former) colleagues. It also affords them the ability to leave at their own pace, as opposed to feeling like they need to rush out of your office as soon as you say so. If there is one thing you learn from the latest round of Xerox layoffs, remember the importance of letting employees go in a neutral, private space where the meeting cannot be seen or overheard.
When it comes to the recent Xerox layoffs, you can bet you bottom dollar that the company took every necessary precaution to ensure no lawsuits being filed. No matter the size of your business, you should do the same as well. That is why it is absolutely imperative for a third person to be a part of these termination meetings whenever possible. Having another party in the room gives you the eyes and ears to witness the proceedings. This way, if an employee were to threaten a suit, it is not a he said/she said affair. You will have verifiable proof of what went on in the form of a third party witness. That being said, you still must give your employee the respect they deserve and make sure that the third party involved is their superior, either directly or indirectly. Having a co-worker who operates on the same level in the meeting will only appear unprofessional. Let’s be honest, getting fired is humiliating. Having your peer in the room will only make it even more unbearable. Take this as another vital lesson from the recent round of Xerox layoffs – having a third party witness in the room will allow you to prevent unnecessary legal woes while still giving the employee the respect they deserve.
Spare The Niceties
A final lesson in proper termination procedures from the Xerox layoffs: spare the pleasantries and compliments. Obviously, it is incredibly unpleasant to have to let someone go. You may feel as though you are doing something nice by complementing the employee or letting them know that you wish you did not have to let them go. However, this does nothing but undermine the reasons for termination. It will not make the employee feel better at all either. Instead, it only detracts from the real, quantifiable reasons why you have to fire this individual and makes them feel even smaller and sadder. Yes, it is not fun at all to fire someone, and sometimes it makes it easier on you to slip a couple words of praise into the meeting. Do not do this. Instead, stay neutral, firm and impassive. Leave your emotions outside the door and keep the words you say factual. This does not mean you should be cold. It is important to say things nicely, of course. But if there is one thing you can take the opportunity to learn from the Xerox layoffs, it should be to remain firm, neutral and factual in your delivery.
The recent round of Xerox layoffs is yet another hard moment to watch for the company. However, it provides an opportunity for business owners like you to take a moment to refresh themselves on the best course of action when it comes to letting employees go. Firing an employee is never easy for either party involved. But using these tips will help you to make the process as painless as possible. These recent Xerox layoffs are certainly not a good thing, but they can act as an important learning tool for business owners and managers, alike. If you have any other tips on the best way to let employees go, leave them in the comments below.
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