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Protecting Your Staff During Difficult Employment Terminations

Employee termination tends to be a topic that many business owners and executives prefer not to touch on. Letting an employee go can – if not handled appropriately – cause a hostile, potentially dangerous situation. But, it still remains that termination is a natural part of any company’s evolution. And, there are ways in which you can ensure that you protect yourself and your staff in the event that firing an employee gets out of hand.

Employee Terminations

Four tips on how to let staff members go without compromising workplace security: 

Tip 1: Be Prepared

Firing an employee is something that should be well thought out. Take time to compile a list of reasons as to why you are letting this person go. This will help the individual understand where you’re coming from – and why you’ve chosen to make this decision. You also want to anticipate possible scenarios that could occur during the firing process. Plan for a smooth termination process, but also plan for one that’s not so smooth.

Make sure to alert security personnel prior to the termination. This way, they’ll be ready to handle a spontaneous incident. Being prepared is key to workplace violence prevention, because it ensures that you’ve planned for all possible situations – which always puts you in a better position when reacting to them.

Tip 2: Have Someone With You

Terminations are serious matters, which is why you want to have a witness in the room when they’re being carried out. Approaching a firing alone could put you in serious harm and also jeopardize workplace security. You should carry out the termination with another employee – preferably someone in a management position.

Or, you could ask security personnel to sit in during the termination process. Security personnel often serve as object third parties during these types of situations who can also protect you if the individual becomes violent.

Having a witness with you during the firing process will ensure that the former employee does not wrongfully accuse you of unprofessional behavior, as well.

Tip 3: Treat the Employee With Respect

Just because someone is not going to be a part of your company in the future, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t, at one point, an integral part of your business. Make sure to let them know that by being cordial. Workplace violence prevention is all about anticipation. Try to analyze some of the things that this employee would react positively to. Incorporate those phrases or words into the firing process. Try delivering the bad news in a sandwich that breaks down their termination with layers of positive factors. Getting fired is difficult for everyone involved. Make that process a smoother one by highlighting some of the things that the employee has done well while they were with your company.

Tip 4: Cover the Steps That Follow Termination

Termination brings about a lot of uncertainty. This can be very difficult for some employees to handle. They may be unsure as to how they’re going to carry on the rest of their lives. At times, this could put a fired employee in a panic – which could then lead to violence. For this reason, make sure to break down the steps that follow termination from your company. Discuss potential severance or compensation pay that might follow the employee’s termination. This will allow them to mentally plan – and prepare – for handling life outside of working for your company. Workplace violence prevention ultimately comes down to gaging how to keep the individual being fired calm. Giving them more information will definitely help you do this.

Termination doesn’t have to be a dilemma. Contact Huffmaster today if you’re interested in creating workplace prevention plans that particularly address handling employee terminations. Also, make sure to check out our workplace case studies to learn more about maintaining a safe environment at you business.

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Mike Saad, CPP

Senior Director Consulting Services at Huffmaster Crisis Response, LLC
Michael Saad is Senior Director of Consulting Services, Huffmaster Crisis Response, LLC. He is responsible for the security consulting line of business for the company. In that capacity he manages security program evaluation, corporate policy and procedure development, federal security compliance initiatives, corporate investigations, security threat and vulnerability analysis, and business risk management.
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