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Terminating a Non Performing Employee : Do you know the Art ?

Terminating an employee from the job is one task the mangers’ does not look forward to. But under certain circumstances the employer is forced to refuse further services from the employee. Non-performing employees are a threat to the company as they can exude a negative air in the environment, thus having an impact on the work flow of the other employees.

Termination of an employee must be done with great care and caution. It is said that there are many instances where the judiciary has demanded the company to compensate a non-performing employee. The reason for judging an employee as a non-performing one must be well scrutinised and recorded. The employee must be given time and warning to take the corrective measures and improve his performance and behaviour. A person may not be performing up to the standards if he is not guided and motivated properly, leading to the lack of interest in the work. Identification of the cause for the non performance and taking corrective measures is therefore important to avoid legal litigations.

Absence of proper knowledge about the work, the deadlines, and the procedure to be adopted could be one of the reasons that create hostility between the supervisor and the subordinate. The first and foremost task of the supervisor is to make sure that the employee has been informed of the task expected from him and on providing the necessary guidelines, direct his actions towards it. The task of terminating the employee arises only when the employee, in spite of proper guidance and ample warnings fails or refuse to perform in the expected manner. Then the supervisor will have to convince him of the repercussions on bad performance. The employee has every right to be forewarned of the termination procedure that might occur on continued poor performance.

Performance appraisal systems help the management to recognise the key areas of skills that are required for any particular task to be done and the employee performance. Continuous performance of an employee below the expectations calls for termination. Performance appraisals conducted at frequent intervals provide ample warning to the employee about the expected outcome.

After providing the employee the opportunity to enhance his performance, and on the failure of the same, the final termination procedure takes place. The employee is called for a meeting with the manager and other key supervisors and is informed of the decision to cease with the services with the company. The employee should be given sufficient proof to show the cause of termination. The details of the previous meetings that were held to assist and warn the employee on his performance might be required to be presented in certain cases. The employee must be given the opportunity to speak and his doubts over the cause of termination must be well explained. The management must also be prepared to face the emotional outbursts from the employees when they become an unwilling target to termination. The management team present must control the meeting with a calm attitude. If necessary they must inform the employee of the job opportunities that are open in the market which matches the employee’s skills. The employee’s situation must be well respected through out the meeting.

But there might be instances where the management is forced to terminate the employee with immediate effect. This occurs when the employee turns out to be a threat to the company and its employees, or when he steals a company property or work against the company ethics. In such circumstances the employees are expelled without any advance warning from the management.

Expelling the employee must be done with utmost care. The management must understand the emotional and mental trauma the employee undergoes during termination. The meeting must be conducted with respect from both parties. Termination can be an eye opener to the employee as well as the management. For an employee, it reveals his weaknesses and the termination must be considered as an opportunity to overcome them. To an employer, it helps him to analyse the cause for expelling the employee and take measures to prevent their occurrence in future through better selection procedure, policies, etc.

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