Recruitment: Don’t be a novice when terminating someone

Sheep Central September 1, 2014

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IF you’re job entails management, chances are pretty high that at some point you are going to have to terminate someone.

Sheep saleMaybe the fit isn’t right, the work quality isn’t there, the mistakes have added up, or the business strategy and focus is changing. Regardless, it’s not the best experience.

Terminating an employee is not something any manager looks forward to, but it’s a necessary part of doing business if you want to strengthen a weakness, improve performance or become more efficient in your agribusiness.

Smart managers handle terminations directly, quietly and compassionately and have documentation to back up their reasons. On the other hand, some employers can mishandle a terminating situation and reap the consequences which cannot be nice.

Terminating an employee, whether for performance or financial reasons, is one of the hardest actions managers ever have to take. And because terminating an employee can be so emotionally difficult and logistically complicated with all the necessary paperwork and documentation, it’s easy to mess up.

Given that terminations are one of the most difficult personnel issues managers have to deal with, avoiding the following pitfalls will reduce the risk of a wrongful termination.

Here are some common mistakes managers make when terminating employees:


Making it about you

Don’t go on about how awful this makes you feel. Of course it does. You will feel bad. But no matter how badly you feel, the person you’re terminating feels worse. Your emotions are very secondary, and spending time on how YOU feel while you’re terminating the person is way off-base.

Waiting until Friday at 5pm

Many people want to put this off as long as they possibly can. But waiting until the bitter end of a week leaves the person you’re terminating with limited time to ask questions, and the whole weekend to think about it.

Forgetting that this is one of the worst days of this person’s life

Yes, it’s going to be ok, they will find another job. But today is likely one of the worst days of their lives, and they have to leave the office and go home and tell their family and their friends. They have to face professional and perhaps financial uncertainty. Respect this.

Not planning for the termination meeting

Winging a meeting with an employee you’re going to fire is a bad idea. If you don’t prepare what you’re going to say to the employee, you could speak out of turn, and your comments could be fodder for consequences. Planning the details of the termination helps demonstrate respect for the employee.

Not being truthful about the reason for the termination

Of course you feel badly about having to lay off staff but this is not a good time to soften the reasons the employee is being terminated. Be honest about the reasons why the employee is being terminated, expected timeframes and any post-employment matters such as superannuation, financial summaries, and annual leave.


One final word of advice: Always have two people present in the meeting other than just the employee being terminated. That way, if you end up in litigation, it’s not one person’s word against the other. It is better to have a second representative from the company who can indicate exactly what was said, and also has no biased feelings to either stakeholder. A HR manager is always good in this situation, if your beef industry business is large enough to have one.

Source: AWX Agribusiness – Partners in People.




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