Firing someone because they are a poor fit for your organization can be stressful. After all, you likely just hired this person, trained them, and had high hopes for them to succeed inside your company. That being said, 'not a good fit termination' isn't all that uncommon.
When it comes down to it, a not a good fit termination is necessary for both parties, the employee and the employer. Your business will likely be better with a better fit and the person who isn't fitting in will likely perform better at an organization where their personality shines.
So, how do you pull off a 'not a good fit termination'?
Good question, let's dig into it.
What Is a 'Not a Good Fit Termination?'
First, you need to be able to determine what a poor fit hire actually is and, most importantly, what it is not.
While that may seem a bit strange, you have to be able to identify why the employee isn't working out and if there are anyways to move forward. You also need to make sure you are not discriminating against employees because of their differences (sex, religion, gender, race, etc). If you do, you will likely face legal issues in the future.
So, a poor fit cannot be someone who is merely of a different race or sex. For example, just because you hire a woman to work in a workplace full of men, you cannot fire her for being a woman. That's textbook discrimination even if she doesn't "fit in" with the other staff on a personal level.
With that in mind, you can still fire someone if they are not fitting in with your corporate culture. You just need to make sure you do so in a way that shows your decision making and that you are not discriminating.
Here's how that can go.
'Not a Good Fit Termination:' The Process
Just like any other termination, you need to make sure you document everything you do before you terminate a bad fit employee.
Basically, you need to make a case for the firing even if you are well within your right to fire whoever you see fit. By building a proper case and documenting your reasoning, you can make sure all of your bases are covered.
Once you have a case built, always make sure that your reason for firing the employee isn't discriminatory in anyway like we mentioned above. This may involve leaning on your legal team to provide you with clarity into the matter.
All of this due diligence will make the actual firing event a lot easier to handle and will also protect you from lawsuits in the end.
The next step is to actually hold the event. We recommend you meet with the person being let go and break the news to them, allowing them to ask questions and say what they need to say (within reason). We also suggest that you provide them a written termination letter to make sure everything is official.
If this is all sounding like your normal termination policy, great! That means you have everything in order when you need it.
Now, you have the option of adding an extra step when it comes to 'not a good fit terminations' - severance and outplacement.
'Not a Good Fit Termination:' Providing Severance and Outplacement Support
Unlike other types of terminations, firing someone for not fitting into the culture of a workplace is usually something that isn't really within the employee's control. They didn't break a rule or commit misconduct. They simply didn't fit in and it's impacting performance. Chances are, they will fit in elsewhere.
Of course, this is the ideal situation. Sometimes misfit employees do cause more problems, and those situations need to be dealt with differently.
If you find yourself wanting to be fully above board when dealing with 'not a good fir terminations,' you should treat the move sort of like a layoff, meaning that you extend more benefits than you usually would if someone is fired for a different reason.
A severance agreement is a legal document that details the termination and also protects the organization from wrongful termination lawsuits by having the outbound employee sign off on it. In exchange for their signature, the employer provides a payment.
This payment, though it helps protect the organization, also allows the employee to make a job transition without breaking the bank.
To really round out a severance package, we recommend also providing outplacement services alongside a payment. Outplacement is a service that is extended to the outbound staff member that helps them land a new role elsewhere without all of the stress that comes with a job hunt.
The best outplacement providers use cutting-edge technology, expert coaches, and personalized approaches to ensure participants get back to work faster than ever. They offer support until the person lands a new role and do so without any sort of fees, meeting the participant's needs whenever and wherever they may need.
You can learn all about the outplacement process here, and you can learn about how much outplacement typically costs with our pricing guide below:
'Not a Good Fit Termination:' A Brief Recap
When it comes to offboarding a poor fit at your organization, you need to make sure your process covers all of your bases. Make sure you document the actions that are leading up to the move and also ensure that you are not discriminating against any staff member, especially those in protected classes.
To ensure you are not consciously or unconsciously discriminating, discuss the move with your legal counsel to double check that your move is legally sound and compliant with all local, state, and federal laws.
Once you have determined that the reason for the firing and have documented the actions that have led to your decision, it's time to actually make the move.
Like any termination, we recommend meeting with the impacted staff member and also providing them a written letter that details the termination. Alongside this, we highly recommend providing a severance package that includes a lump sum payment in exchange for their signature.
This will help negate the possibility of lawsuits while also providing the employee a pathway forward. At the same time, it's a great idea to provide an outplacement package to the staff member, too, which can help them land a new role quicker than normal while showing that you support them even in their next move.
If all goes well, you will be able to offboard poor cultural hires without all of the stress and worry.