Set Expectations. Discuss with your employees any behavior that could be grounds for immediate termination. Don’t wait until behavior is already occurring. Be sure that all employees understand the rules and productivity expectations up front. These might include such things as failing to disclose arrest records, lying about past employment, insubordination, excessive absence—and what constitutes “excessive”—and other issues that affect job performance.
Give regular performance appraisals. Evaluate employee work at least once a year and document deficiencies in performance versus your expectations or the actual job requirements. When an employee comes up short, discuss ways to improve and give the employee clear steps and goals to help them improve.
- Be sure of your standing. Unless you are the company owner, know your employer’s rules about firing someone. There may be specific steps you are required to take to fire someone — even if the employee is not doing their job. Never undermine your employer and risk your own position by taking such actions without informing your own supervisor.
- Act quickly when problems are noticed. Be sure to communicate performance problems as soon as you are aware of them, and coach your employee on how to improve. Sit down with your employee and discuss with them the problem. Ask them what they think is causing their performance to be substandard, and and offer suggestions for their improvement. Keep a written record of these conversations. Either have them sign a form that covers what was discussed, or send them a formal email, or both. If sending an email, ask your employee to reply to it when they’ve read it, both to acknowledge receipt and to give them an opportunity to respond in writing.
- Focus on the problem. When you counsel an employee, focus on the facts, without editorial comment.
- Keep records. Should the need arise, you want to have a paper trail that shows you were neither capricious nor arbitrary in your decision to fire. Retain a record of all disciplinary actions. Have the employee sign some sort of document outlining the conversation to cover yourself and the company. It should specifically state that the employee is not admitting fault, but has been told that job performance is not satisfactory. Outline specific improvements or changes required in order for them to keep their job, and give them clear deadlines when these improvements or changes must be seen.
HR & Training Dept