As the CEO of a major company, Daniel Lubetzky knows a thing or two about hiring and firing. He knows the importance of a good hire, and he also realizes the weight of a bad fire. As we learned in the recent webinar, executive emotional intelligence is paramount in business. Leaders like Lubetzky are doing away with the archaic notion that emotions have no place in business. That business is made up of people who decide the fate of the company’s employer brand.
Major companies and small businesses alike have to safeguard themselves from the furry of scorned ex-employees' legal pursuits as well as potential damages to the image of the company. Here are some "Kind" tips from Lubetzky on the proper steps to take in transitioning and guiding a struggling employee.
Step 1: Offer Criticism
While there are those obvious slackers, a lot of employees aren’t aware of what they’re doing wrong or what they could be doing better or differently. Lubetzky advises that supervisors and managers always lend the employee advice and feedback before there is even thought of firing someone. This is just as much a good general business practice, as it is a step in the firing process. Giving employees regular feedback gives them the opportunity to improve and grow, and more importantly, the opportunity to keep their job. Offering feedback and criticism also give managers a chance to understand the problems and causes. The employee’s shortcomings might even be an issue stemming from management. Although we’re talking about firing here, this is an important step in retention. Lubetzky says, "A lot of problems happen because the manager doesn’t address them, and then it’s too late.”
Step 2: Implement Your 30-Day Plan
Criticism and feedback are fair warning. If the employee doesn’t start to improve, a plan needs to be put into place. Lubetzky suggests creating a 30-60 day performance plan. This can be simple plan addressing the employee’s productivity, improvements and areas that need work. This isn’t a secret plan, that doesn’t really do the employee any good. This should be a joint effort in getting them on track. Together, the employee and manager should set attainable goals and track them.
Step 3: Restructure Their Role
Nope, Lubetzky doesn’t call it quits just yet. If at all possible, he suggests offering them a different, more suitable role. Lubetzky says, "You should have done enough work during the hiring process to determine if the person has your values and your work ethic, but maybe the skill set is not aligned with their job." At this point, you should see if there might be another position available that is more aligned with their skill set. They need a job and you need to retain employees. It makes sense.
Step 4: Transition Them Out
Even the Kind leader himself knows when to let an employee go. It is at this point that the manager knows that this employee is simply not the right fit for this company. Each situation and person is different, and should be treated that way. Some might need to go immediately, while others could be offered fewer hours in order to facilitate a smoother transition to a new company. Severance packages and outplacement services are a great way to show employees that you value their time and efforts, even if it didn’t work out. Services like resume writing and career counseling benefit the transitioning employee greatly. It is not against the law to help an ex-employee out; in fact, it’s the right thing to do.
Step 5: Leave Security Out of It
Has anyone seen this doozie of a move by management? Someone gets fired, they’re cool, calm, collected and for no reason being escorted by security. Yes, there are times when this could become necessary, but taking the right steps virtually eliminates the threat of a violent reaction. This practice is seen less and less in today’s business world, but it’s a big no-no. The company will end up with an enraged ex-employee and big dent in their employer brand. This is a delicate enough situation as it is without management being the one who causes the scene.
As we read through the steps advised by Lubetzky, they ensure that the final step of letting someone go will be a surprise to no one. Furthermore, these steps ensure that the employee knows that management tried to keep them with the company. Transitioning employees is too commonly dealt with without guidance or preparation. Transition the “Kind” way.