In the reality show “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump the phrase, “You’re Fired” has become a common saying. Many times it is used in a joking fashion, but dismissing employees for any reason is a very serious matter. It is not a joke!
In 2009 after owning Auto-Turn Manufacturing, Inc. for less than 2 years, the world economy suddenly slowed down and I had to make sure our company made it through this down-cycle. I stopped taking a paycheck for most of 2009 and cut every variable expense possible. With tears in my eyes, I had to call in 40 of our employees and explain that I must let them go. It was no joking matter and we all knew that most shops in the area were laying off workers as well. Each person qualified for unemployment but this only paid 70% of their former pay.
Over the past 35 years, with two companies, I have been responsible for more than 1,500 employees. In this process, I have learned a lot about our employees and their needs. Most people do not have a large cash reserve because of poor spending habits or unexpected expenses. Saying, “you’re fired” is not a joking matter. Especially in these difficult times, the fear of losing a job is a very real fear for many people. Praise God for people like Dave Ramsey, who is committed to helping people be wise in their personal spending.
Though I can’t say I’ve always done what I am suggesting below, but I am committed to improving on them:
No employee should be surprised they are being let go – a) If the person is being let go because of a matter of discipline or lack of performance, we have a long line of documentation leading up to the point of dismissal. b) If the dismissal is because of economic reasons, the person should not be surprised because the economic trends are public knowledge.
- As owner, I am not normally involved with the discipline or dismissal process because I am not directly involved with their daily performance. I feel responsible to give my key managers the tools and freedom they need to do their job. Before a dismissal, we try to make sure this person does not have a better place to serve in the company.
- We must ask ourselves if we did a good job in training the person and have we been fair, impartial, and honest with the person? We have constant modification and improvement in our training. We have hired professionals in specific areas to provide training to our employees. This has cost our company a lot of money but the payback has been great.
- The way you handle discipline with one person will be judged by the other employees. In most cases, we have had several of our key employees tell us after someone was fired, “it is about time”, or “it is amazing you didn’t do this sooner”.
Please share some of your experiences as an employee or owner regarding this subject.
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